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Jacana jacana

Jacana jacana , Photo: Michael Lahanas

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Subsectio: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Eusaurischia
Cladus: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Cladus: Averostra
Cladus: Tetanurae
Cladus: Avetheropoda
Cladus: Coelurosauria
Cladus: Maniraptoromorpha
Cladus: Maniraptoriformes
Cladus: Maniraptora
Cladus: Pennaraptora
Cladus: Eumaniraptora
Cladus: Avialae
Infraclassis: Aves
Cladus: Euavialae
Cladus: Avebrevicauda
Cladus: Pygostylia
Cladus: Ornithothoraces
Cladus: Euornithes
Cladus: Ornithuromorpha
Cladus: Ornithurae
Cladus: Carinatae
Parvclassis: Neornithes
Cohors: Neognathae
Ordo: Charadriiformes
Subordo: Charadrii

Familia: Jacanidae
Genus: Jacana
Species: Jacana jacana
Subspecies: J. j. hypomelaena – J. j. intermedia – J. j. jacana – J. j. melanopygia – J. j. peruviana – J. j. scapularis

Jacana jacana (Linnaeus, 1766)

Parra jacana (protonym)
Parra variabilis Linnaeus, 1766 (based on juvenile)

Jacana jacana

Jacana jacana (*)


Systema Naturae ed.12, 1: 259.
Vernacular names
čeština: Ostnák jihoamerický
dansk: Jacana
Deutsch: Rotstirn-Blatthühnchen
English: Wattled Jacana
Esperanto: Jakanao
español: Jacana común
eesti: Lokutjassaana
suomi: Helttajassana
français: Jacana noir
galego: Xacana de fronte vermella
Avañe'ẽ: Aguapeaso
magyar: Jasszána
italiano: Jacana dai barbigli
日本語: ナンベイレンカク
lietuvių: Ūsuotoji žakana
latviešu: Sekstes jakana
Nederlands: Leljacana
norsk: Rødflikbladhøne
polski: Długoszpon krasnoczelny
português do Brasil: Jaçanã
português: Jaçanã
русский: Якана
slovenčina: Jakana červenočelá
svenska: Flikjacana
中文: 肉垂水雉

The wattled jacana (Jacana jacana) is a wader which is a resident breeder from western Panama and Trinidad south through most of South America east of the Andes.


The wattled jacana lays four black-marked brown eggs in a floating nest. The male, as with other jacanas and some other wader families like the phalaropes, takes responsibility for incubation, with two eggs held between each wing and the breast. The females are polyandrous and will help to defend the nests of up to four mates.

These are conspicuous and unmistakable birds. They are 17–23 cm (6.7–9.1 in) long, but the females are larger than the males. The adults have a chestnut back and wing coverts, with the rest of the body mainly black. In flight the greenish yellow flight feathers are obvious. Also visible are yellow bony spurs on the leading edge of the wings, which it can use to defend itself and its young. The yellow bill extends up as a red coot-like head shield and a reddish wattle, and the legs and very long toes are dull blue-grey.

Young birds initially have entirely white underparts, and can always be identified by the presence of white in their plumage.

There are six subspecies, with the nominate J. j. jacana being the most widespread. Several of the other subspecies are similar, but J. j. hypomelaena of western Panama and northern Colombia has all the chestnut plumage replaced by black, and J. j. scapularis of western Ecuador has some black feathers on its chestnut shoulders, and white outer primary feathers.

juvenile J. j. jacana
the Pantanal, Brazil

J. j. jacana in flight
the Pantanal, Brazil

J. j. jacana alighting
the Pantanal, Brazil


J. j. hypomelaena (Gray, 1846): west-central Panama to northern Colombia
J. j. melanopygia (Sclater, 1857): western Colombia to western Venezuela
J. j. intermedia (Sclater, 1857): north & central Venezuela
J. j. jacana (Linnaeus, 1766): Trinidad, southern Colombia & southern Venezuela through the Guianas south to eastern Bolivia, northern Argentina & Uruguay
J. j. scapularis (Chapman, 1922): western Ecuador & northwestern Peru
J. j. peruviana (Zimmer, 1930): northeastern Peru & northwestern Brazil[2]

This species produces a range of noisy rattling calls.

The wattled jacana's food is insects (such as beetles, grasshoppers and crickets),[3] other invertebrates (e.g. ticks and mollusks), small fish, roots[4] and seeds picked from the floating vegetation or the water's surface.

immature J. j. hypomelaena
Chagres River, Panama

subadult J. j. hypomelaena
Chagres River, Panama

adult J. j. hypomelaena
Chagres River, Panama


BirdLife International (2020). "Jacana jacana". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020: e.T22693553A163616643. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T22693553A163616643.en. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Grebes, flamingos, buttonquail, plovers, painted-snipes, jacanas, plains-wanderer, seedsnipes". World Bird List Version 9.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 26 June 2019.

Hayman, Peter; Marchant, John; Prater, Tony (1991). Shorebirds: An Identification Guide to the Waders of the World. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 9780395602379.
Hilty, Steven L. (2003). Birds of Venezuela. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5.
ffrench, Richard; O'Neill, John Patton; Eckelberry, Don R. (1991). A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd ed.). Ithaca, N.Y.: Comstock Publishing. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2.

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