African Jacanas


The African Jacanas (Actophilornis africana) occur naturally in the tropical zone of central and southern Africa, where they typically inhabit shallow lakes.

These jacanas are mostly sedentary (non-migratory) except for seasonal dispersions.



These conspicuous birds are best known by their proportionally large feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation.

They measure about 30 cm in length, with the females usually being larger in size than the males.

The upper plumage is chestnut except for the black wingtips, rear neck and eyestripes. The plumage below is whitish, with a chestnut belly patch in adult birds.

The blue bill extends up as a coot-like head shield. The legs and toes are greyish.


Breeding / Nesting

The typical clutch consists of four black-marked brown eggs that are placed in floating nests. The males are typically responsible for the incubation.


Diet / Feeding

The African Jacanas feed on insects, worms and other invertebrates, typically picked from floating vegetation or the water’s surface.

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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