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Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Aves
Subclassis: Carinatae
Infraclassis: Neornithes
Parvclassis: Neognathae
Ordo: Charadriiformes
Subordo: Charadrii
Familia: Jacanidae
Genera: Actophilornis - Hydrophasianus - Irediparra - Jacana - Metopidius - Microparra


Jacanidae Stejneger, 1885


* Jacanidae Report on ITIS

Vernacular Names
English: Jacana
한국어: 물꿩과

The jacanas (sometimes referred to as Jesus birds or lily trotters) are a group of tropical waders in the family Jacanidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone. See Etymology below for pronunciation.

Eight species of jaçana are known from six genera. The fossil record of this family is restricted to a recent fossil of the Wattled Jaçana from Brazil and an Pliocene fossil of an extinct species, Jacana farrandi, from Florida.[1] A fossil from Miocene rocks in the Czech Republic was assigned to this family,[2] but more recent analysis disputes the placement and moves the species to the Coraciidae.[3]

They are identifiable by their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation in the shallow lakes that are their preferred habitat. They have sharp bills and rounded wings, and many species also have wattles on their foreheads.[4]

The females are larger than the males; the latter, as in some other wader families like the phalaropes, take responsibility for incubation, and some species (notably the Northern Jaçana) are polyandrous.[5] However, adults of both sexes look identical, as with most shorebirds. They construct relatively flimsy nests on floating vegetation, and lay eggs with dark irregular lines on their shells, providing camouflage amongst water weeds.[4]

Their diet consists of insects and other invertebrates picked from the floating vegetation or the water’s surface.

Most species are sedentary, but the Pheasant-tailed Jaçana migrates from the north of its range into peninsular India and southeast Asia.

Etymology and Pronunciation

Jacana is Linnæus' scientific Latin spelling of the Brazilian Portuguese jaçanã, which is from a Tupi name of the bird.

The Portuguese word is pronounced approximately [ʒasaˈnã]. As in façade, Provençal, and araçari, the Ç is meant to be pronounced as an S. US dictionaries give various pronunciations: /ˌʒɑːsəˈnɑː/ zhah-sə-NAH,[6][7] /ˌdʒɑːsəˈnɑː/ jah-sə-NAH,[7] as well as the anglicised /dʒəˈkɑːnə/ jə-KAH-nə,[8] which is the only pronunciation in an Australian dictionary.[9] A British dictionary gives /ˈdʒækənə/ JAK-ə-nə for the spelling "jacana" and /ʒæsəˈnɑː/ zhas-ə-NAH for "jaçana".[10]


* Genus: Microparra
o Lesser Jaçana - Microparra capensis
* Genus: Actophilornis
o African Jaçana - Actophilornis africana
o Madagascar Jaçana - Actophilornis albinucha
* Genus: Irediparra
o Comb-crested Jaçana - Irediparra gallinacea
* Genus: Hydrophasianus
o Pheasant-tailed Jaçana - Hydrophasianus chirurgus
* Genus: Metopidius
o Bronze-winged Jaçana - Metopidius indicus
* Genus: Jacana
o Northern Jaçana - Jacana spinosa
o Wattled Jaçana - Jacana jacana


1. ^ Olson, Storrs, (1976). "A jacana from the Pliocene of Florida (Aves: Jacanidae)". Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 89 (19): 259–264. http://si-pddr.si.edu/dspace/bitstream/10088/1730/1/Jacana_farrandi.pdf.
2. ^ Mlíkovský, Jiří (1999). "A new jacana (Aves: Jacanidae) from the Early Miocene of the Czech Republic". Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences - Series IIA - Earth and Planetary Science 328 (2): 121–123. doi:10.1016/S1251-8050(99)80007-X.
3. ^ Mourer-Chauviré, Cécile (1999). "Systematic position of Nupharanassa bohemica Mlíkovsky, 1999". Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences - Series IIA - Earth and Planetary Science 329 (2): 149–152. doi:10.1016/S1251-8050(99)80217-1.
4. ^ a b Harrison, Colin J.O. (1991). Forshaw, Joseph. ed. Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. p. 108. ISBN 1-85391-186-0.
5. ^ Jenni, Donald A.; Gerald Collier (1972). "Polyandry in the American Jaçana (Jacana spinosa)". The Auk 89 (4): 743–765.
6. ^ "American Heritage Dictionary". 2009. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/jacana. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
7. ^ a b "dictionary.com Unabridged. Based on the Random House Dictionary". 2009. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/jacana. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
8. ^ "jacana - definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary". http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jacana. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
9. ^ The Macquarie Dictionary Online. Macquarie Dictionary Publishers Pty Ltd.. 2009. http://www.macquariedictionary.com.au. Retrieved 2009-08-13. . Subscription required.
10. ^ The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. Clarendon Press. 1993.

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