African Jacana

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Common Name: African Jacana
Scientific Name: Actophilornis africana

Size: 11– 12¼ inches (28-31cm)

Habitat: Africa; throughout sub-Saharan Africa. This species is nomadic in relation to changing water levels with some individuals travelling as far as several kilometers between suitable habitats. The species may breed in any month of the year in permanent wetlands but only during the wet season in seasonally flooded areas.

Status: Least Concern. Global population: 1,000,000. The species is locally threatened by wetland degradation and loss through flooding (as a result of hydroelectric projects), drainage and overgrazing.

Diet: Insects (e.g. dragonfly nymphs, bees) and worms, as well as spiders, crustaceans, mollusks and occasionally seeds are picked from the floating vegetation or the water’s surface. The species forages singly, in pairs or in dispersed family groups and may occasionally gather in small, loose flocks.

Nesting: Females are twice as large as males and can be very picky about who they choose as a mate. The female African Jacanas does not generally choose the same male partner for every clutch of eggs that she lays. The African Jacana breeds throughout sub-Saharan Africa. It is sedentary apart from seasonal dispersion. It lays four black-marked brown eggs in a floating nest. It has a polyandrous mating system, with males holding nesting, breeding, foraging and chick-rearing territories while females mate with several adjacent males.

Cool Facts: African jacana molt all of their wing feathers at the same time and are unable to fly until their new feathers grow in.

Jacanas have many enemies including snakes, otters, water mongooses and other birds are predators of the African Jacana’s eggs. Since African Jacana’s eggs and young chicks are often preyed upon, the survival of this species is largely dependent on the mother’s ability to lay several clutches of eggs in one season.

Found in Songbird ReMix Jacanas

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