Northern Jacana

From SongbirdReMixWiki

Jump to: navigation, search

Image:Jacana-no.jpg

Common Name: Northern Jacana
Scientific Name: Jacana spinosa

Size: 6 ¾ - 9 inches (17-23 cm)

Habitat: Central America; coastal Mexico to western Panama, and on Cuba, Jamaica and Hispaniola. It sometimes breeds in Texas, USA, and has also been recorded on several occasions as a vagrant in Arizona. Preferred habitat is shallow lakes, rivers or streams covered with floating or floating-emergent vegetation in tropical areas.

Status: Least Concern. Global population: 500,000-5,000,0000. Drainage of wetlands is an ongoing threat, also harvesting of mangrove swamps for lumber. Water pollution from pesticide use is ongoing. Protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 in the US.

Diet: Insects, other invertebrates and seeds picked from the floating vegetation or the water's surface. Their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation while foraging.

Nesting: Females are larger than the males. Juveniles initially have entirely white under parts, and can always be identified by the presence of white in their plumage. The Northern Jacana lays four black-marked brown eggs in a floating nest. In this species the roles of the sexes are reversed, for unknown reasons. Whether role reversal evolved before polyandry or they coevolved is unknown. Males build the nest, incubate, and raise the small, precocial young. Females rarely brood chicks. The much larger, more aggressive females may be bonded simultaneously with up to 4 males, which defend their adjacent territories against one another. Females defend their territories against other females and assist each of their males in defending their territories against both neighboring jacanas and other intruders. This remarkable simultaneous polyandry occurs where habitat is rich, male territories are relatively small, and the configuration of male territories allows the females to defend more than one male’s territory. In less rich habitats where male territories are larger, or along narrow waterways where male territories are long, females may be unable to defend more than 1 male’s territory.

Cool Facts: In Jamaica this bird is also known as the 'Jesus bird', as it appears to walk on water.


Found in Songbird ReMix Jacanas

Personal tools