Description[ edit ] The greenish colour of the wing feathers is derived from a pigment. Photographed in Costa Rica. The northern jacana has a dark brown body with a black head and neck. In addition its bill has yellow patches and its forehead has a yellow wattle. When a jacana is in flight, its yellowish-green primary and secondary feathers are visible. Also visible are yellow bony spurs on the leading edge of the wings, which it can use to defend itself and its young.
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Its long toes allow it to run about on lily pads and other floating vegetation. When it flies, the feet trail behind it; on landing, it may hold the wings high for a moment, showing off the yellow flight feathers. This species has turned up several times in Texas, and has even nested there. Conservation status Very common in parts of its normal range, but could be vulnerable to loss of wetland habitat.
Family Jacanas Habitat Marshes, overgrown ponds. In the tropics, found on wide variety of shallow freshwater ponds and lake margins, especially those with much floating vegetation. In United States, has occurred mostly in Texas, on large fresh ponds surrounded by extensive marsh and with floating plants such as lily pads, water hyacinth. At marshy ponds from Mexico to Panama, this odd shorebird is common. Also forages on mud or open ground near water.
Eggs Usually 4, sometimes Almost round; brown, scrawled with black lines. Incubation is by male only, days. During hot part of day, male will shade eggs from sun female occasionally shades eggs also. Young: Downy young leave nest within days after hatching. Male tends young and leads them to feeding sites, but young feed themselves; male broods young during rain or cool weather. Female sometimes accompanies or broods young, but always far less than male.
Age at first flight about 4 weeks. Young Downy young leave nest within days after hatching. Diet Mostly insects. Diet in Texas not well known. In Costa Rica, reported to feed almost entirely on insects; occasionally eats small fish. Nesting One female may have up to 4 mates; she lays eggs in separate nests for each, and males do almost all the work of incubating the eggs and caring for the young.
Nest site is on top of marsh vegetation, either standing or floating, in shallow water. Nest built by male is a flimsy and simple open cup made of available plant material; male continues to add to nest during incubation period.
Jacana spinosa (Linnaeus, 1758)
Biodiversity of Costa Rica