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Scientific Classification

Genus species:Actophilornis africanus

Animal Characteristics

Head-Body Length:30 cm
Identification:The African jacana has a brown body with a bright blue frontal shield and beak. They have extremely long toes and a white foreneck and face.
Habitat:Tropical wetlands, marshes, rivers, lakes
Diet:Omnivore: aquatic insects, crustaceans, seeds
Reproduction:The breeding season falls between October and April. After her mate builds a nest out of floating vegetation, the female lays four eggs. Males are responsible for incubating the eggs for 25 days while the female moves on to mate with 2-3 other males. The chicks leave the nest within a couple of hours of hatching and are capable of feeding themselves. However, they will remain under their father's protection for three months.
When not breeding, jacanas may be seen in flocks containing hundreds of birds.
Behavior:Jacanas have been known to use other animals such as hippos to attract flies. Besides walking on water, jacanas are excellent swimmers and divers.
Status:No special status
Interesting Facts:The long toes of the jacana are used to walk on floating vegetation such as lily pads. Once a year, they will molt and become completely flightless, so it is imperative that they be excellent swimmers.

Other Information

Geographic:Eastern Africa
Central Africa
Date:1958-1988 Subjects:Lily trotter
short-legged wading bird
African jacana