Comb-crested Jacanas

The Comb-crested Jacana (Irediparra gallinacea), also known as the Lotusbird or Lilytrotter, is the only species of jacana in the genus Irediparra. As with other jacana species, it is adapted to the floating vegetation of tropical freshwater wetlands.

Description

Unmistakeable. Black crown and hindneck with fleshy red wattle covering forehead and forecrown. White face and throat. Broad black band on lower breast with white belly. Underwing black. Back and upperwing mainly grey-brown with black primary coverts, rump and tail. Long legs with extremely long toes.

Measurements: length (male) 20-21 cm, (female) 24-27 cm; wingspan 39-46 cm; weight (male) 85 g, (female) 140 g.

Distribution

South-east Borneo, southern Philippines, Sulawesi, Moluccas, Lesser Sunda Islands, New Guinea, New Britain, northern and eastern Australia.

Habitat

Freshwater wetlands with abundant floating vegetation, such as water-lilies or water hyacinth, forming a mat on water surface.

Food

Seeds and aquatic insects gleaned from the floating vegetation or the water surface.

Voice

Squeaky, high-pitched chittering.

Breeding

Females polyandrous (they form stable unions with more than one male). Flimsy nest built on floating or emergent vegetation, with clutch of four lustrous, pale brown eggs covered by black markings. Incubation by males only. Young precocial (= relatively mature and mobile from the moment of birth or hatching) and nidifugous (which means that they leave the nest shortly after birth).

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Comb-crested Jacana