African Jacana | Actophilornis africanus

The African Jacana is a stunning looking waterbird. When they breed, the female lays the eggs and from that point on the male does all the work, sitting on eggs and fledging them until they are adults.

Robert's Information On The African Jacana

African Jacana Birds In SaThe African Jacana is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Jacanidae bird family group which includes birds such as Jacanas.

The description for the African Jacana (Latin name Actophilornis africanus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Actophilornis africanus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 240 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 382. You will find a picture of the African Jacana on page 305.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the African Jacana between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The African Jacana is known in Afrikaans as Grootlangtoon.

The African Jacana has a height of 32 cms and weighs around 140 gms. The head is coloured black while the bill is coloured blue. The Actophilornis africanus has a white coloured throat, grey legs and a chestnut coloured back. The eyes are brown.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is black.

Eyes are brown.

Bill is blue.

Legs are grey.

Throat is white.

Back is chestnut.

Photo's & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult Adult African Jacana
Female Adult Same as above.
Juvenile Juvenile African Jacana
Non Breeding Plumage N/A

African Jacana Feeding Habits ...

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

African Jacana Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The bird builds its nest above water as a means of protecting itself from predators and to be close to its main food source which includes fish, shrimp and frogs.

The African Jacana is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks.