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Northern Jacana

From Opus

AdultPhoto by ReiniCosta Rica, February 2005
Photo by Reini
Costa Rica, February 2005
Jacana spinosa


[edit] Identification

FemalePhoto by jeffwormanSierpe River, Costa Rica, April 2017
Photo by jeffworman
Sierpe River, Costa Rica, April 2017

17–23 cm (6¾-9 in); females are larger than the males

  • Black Head, neck, upper breast and upper mantle
  • Chestnut back and wing-coverts
  • Blackbelly
  • Greenish-yellow flight feathers
  • Yellow frontal shield, bill, legs and very long toes


  • White underparts
  • Brown upperparts
  • White head with a brown crown and eye stripe

[edit] Similar species

Wattled Jacana

[edit] Distribution

JuvenilePhoto by Stanley JonesCatie Lake, Turrialba, Cartago Province, Costa Rica, February 2014
Photo by Stanley Jones
Catie Lake, Turrialba, Cartago Province, Costa Rica, February 2014

Southern 3/4 of Mexico
Central America from Belize and Guatemala to western Panama, and Cuba, Hispaniola and Jamaica in the West Indies (vagrant to Puerto Rico).

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

There are 3 subspecies1:

  • J. s. gymnostoma:
  • North Mexico to Chiapas, Yucatán Peninsula and Cozumel Island
  • J. s. spinosa :
  • J. s. violacea:

[edit] Habitat

Shallow wetlands (permanent or seasonally flooded) with floating vegetation. .

[edit] Behaviour

The wings are often raised when walking on the ground or over floating vegetation.

[edit] Breeding

Polyandrous; the females defend 1–4 (usually 2) adjacent males and their territories. They construct a floating nest. The clutch consists of 4 black-marked brown eggs which are incubated by the male.

[edit] Diet

Their diet consists almost entirely of insects and other invertebrates, with addition of some plant material and seeds picked from the floating vegetation or the water's surface.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved Dec 2017)
  3. Wikipedia

[edit] External Links


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