Monday, 5 August 2013

Wattled Jacana

Animal of the Month


What's so special about it?

In a power flip that would make Gloria Steinem proud, it is the female Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana) that rules the roost - literally! Mrs Jacana holds the biggest territory in her wetland home, sharing the lilypads with a harem of up to four males that form an uneasy alliance with each other. By mating with them all and laying eggs randomly in each of their nests, she ensures that her offspring are brought up in a predator-filled environment with five dedicated adults protecting them as best they can. As the saying goes, it's wise not to put all your eggs in the one basket!


Where can I see one?

 Wattled Jacanas are found in the tropical wetlands of Central and South America. Like all Jacanas, they have extremely long toes that spread their weight out to maximum effect, allowing them to walk over floating plants without sinking them. For this reason, they don't need a large body of water to live on, just one with plenty of waterlilies and the like.

Is there anything similar near Brisbane?

Comb-crested Jacana
Yes, we have our own Jacana species and it's a cutie. Officially called a Comb-crested Jacana (Irediparra gallinacea), it also has the typically irreverent Australian nickname of "Jesus Bird", due to its seeming ability to walk on water. Look for a small black, white and red bird running across the waterlilies at places like Dowse Lagoon (Sandgate), Minnippi Parklands (Tingalpa) and Buckley's Hole (Bribie Island).

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.


19 comments:

  1. 'jesus bird' - too cute! and that female has quite the breeding methodology!

    (would you consider removing word verification from your comments? just thought i'd ask.)

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    1. Oh I didn't even realise I had it on - it annoys me too! Will turn it off when im near my laptop again. Thanks for dropping by and for the heads up!

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  2. both these photos are spectacular Christian

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    1. Sadly they aren't mine Carole - they are from Wikipedia (I did credit them at the bottom). My chosen animal for the "Animal of the Month" features are often obscure or foreign, so my opportunity to photograph them is limited! I link the post to my Wild Brisbane Facebook page so that people can understand how our local wildlife fits in with the bigger 'World' perspective.

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  3. Hi Christian I love these little birds and how they appear to walk on water. I used to go to a fish farm (aAustralia) to do a bird count for the guy and there was always at least one there.

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    1. Hi Margaret, yes they are one of my favourites too! Your bird count work sounds nifty too - wouldn't that be an amazing full-time paid job? Haha! :-)

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  4. Boy! How quickly did I scan to the "where can I see one?" subtitle!?

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    1. Yes, makes me want to plan a holiday around it, haha!

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  5. I loved watching the CC Jacanas in Kakadu a few years ago - I'd like to see some again!

    Nice picture.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. I bet there were plenty at Kakadu! My "Animal of the Month" pictures are from the interwebs but I'm glad they please you!

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  6. I thought I was already a follower but it obviously didn't work the last time I pressed the button.....or did you not have one? Anyway - I've been missing your posts until now. Sorry! Gorgeous bird by the way.

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    1. I think it was you who told me about the follower button (thank you!) so I've only recently added it!

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    2. I realised what an idiot I was being there as soon as I pressed the publish button!

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  7. Hi Christian. Good write up about the jacanas and I liked your choice of phrase "an uneasy alliance" which made me smile somewhat - what these ladies get up to eh? The first pictures is an abslute cracker considering how intensely active jacanas are . I saw them in India but there's none here in the UK.

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    1. Thanks Phil. It's birds like the Jacana that remind me how lucky I am to live in a subtropical part of the world, and I'm always fascinated by the other varieties of local birds. India's Jacana is a particularly beautiful type as far as I recall!

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    1. Thanks Gregory, I found it interesting to study!

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    1. I agree and hope to see one some day! Thanks for stopping by, Julie!

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