Fun Comb-crested Jacana Facts For Kids

Outdoor & NatureLearn more
Outdoor & NatureLearn more
 Comb-Crested Jacana

Share this article

Many birds of the world call wetlands their home. The comb crested jacana (Irediparra gallinacea) is one of them. The comb crested jacana can be found in lagoons from Australia to the Philippines, walking gracefully over lily pads. That is most likely why it is also known as the lotus bird or the lily trotter. The main habitat of jacanas is freshwater wetlands. These birds feed, nest, and breed here.

As the name implies, these birds have a comb or crest on their heads that help them be distinguished from other species. The color of this crest varies depending on the species' mood. Although the comb crested jacana is not threatened, it is listed as vulnerable in some areas. The main threats are habitat loss and wetlands degradation. They are also victims of predation but due to lack of data, we don't know who eats them.

Read on to discover more cool facts about the comb crested jacana. Facts about other wetlands birds of the world like sanderling facts and brant facts can be found right here on Kidadl.

Comb-Crested Jacana Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a comb-crested jacana?

The comb-crested jacana is the only species of its kind in the Irediparra genus. This bird has adapted itself to survive and thrive amidst floating aquatic vegetation in wetlands.

What class of animal does a comb-crested jacana belong to?

The comb crested jacana (Irediparra gallinacea) belongs to the class of Aves or birds.

How many comb-crested jacanas are there in the world?

The population of comb crested jacanas is unknown.

Where does a comb-crested jacana live?

The comb crested jacana range map extends from Australia to Indonesia. It is largely found near inland freshwater wetlands but in the non-breeding period can also be found uplands away from water. The lagoons and rivers where the birds can be found include a range of floating vegetation, prominently water lilies. Comb crested jacanas can be found in northern and eastern Australia, Borneo, New Guinea, New Britain, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

What is a comb-crested jacana's habitat?

The comb crested jacana (Irediparra gallinacea) inhabits still or slow-flowing tropical and subtropical freshwater wetlands. This includes lagoons, swamps, rivers, ponds, and billabongs. These sites are abundant in floating vegetation, mainly water lilies.

Who do comb-crested jacanas live with?

The comb crested jacana (irediparra gallinacea) can be spotted alone, in pairs, and even in different-sized flocks.

How long does a comb-crested jacana live?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), this bird's average life span is 4.8 years.

How do they reproduce?

The adult female can mate with multiple adult males and there is no specific breeding season for these birds. However, in Australia, the breeding season is restricted to the monsoon or wet season. The clutch will generally have three to four eggs. The color of the eggs ranges from yellow to brown with black markings. If the eggs accidentally drown under the floating vegetation, the female will mate again to produce another clutch.

The nest is built by the male on the floating vegetation. The nest is quite flimsy and shallow made with the parts of the aquatic plants. But there might be cases when the adult female lays the eggs right on the floating lily leaf. The adult male plays the central role of incubating the eggs for 28 days. The adult male bird will continue to care for the young who will fledge approximately 60 days after hatching.

What is their conservation status?

This bird's conservation status is classified as Least Concern or not threatened worldwide. However, due to habitat loss and degradation in New South Wales, they have been classified as vulnerable in that state.

Comb-Crested Jacana Fun Facts

What do comb-crested jacanas look like?

Comb-Crested Jacana

The physical description of the comb crested jacana (Australia resident) includes a white face and throat, fleshy comb on its forehead, black crown, wide feet, medium body shape and size and long toes and claws. Apart from the black crown, the body color is quite diverse. The wings are brown, back and upperwing are brown, upper breast is yellowish-brown, lower breast is black, white belly, bill is reddish with a black tip and eyes are yellow. The long toes, long legs, and feet are grayish-green in color.

The fleshy comb on the forehead changes color from yellow to red, depending on the social interactions of the jacana. When quiet, the color is likely to be yellowish. During courtship, the color of the comb on the forehead is bright red because it gets infused with blood and expands.

The male and female have the same coloring, but the female will be larger in shape and size. The head of the juvenile will be black and it will have a browner body as compared to the adult. It has a white breast as well. The head, throat, and fleshy comb will be similar to the adults.

The long legs and toes allow the comb crested jacana to walk comfortably on the surface of the aquatic plants. This is what's unique about them. Apart from when they walk around amidst wetland vegetation, you can observe the feet size when the birds are in flight.

How cute are they?

Although this bird species has an elegant and graceful frame, it is difficult to call them cute, unlike ring-necked ducks.

How do they communicate?

The comb crested jacana communicates by making a range of calls, just like all other jacanas. When communicating with other comb crested jacanas, a series of squeaky notes are made. Chittering, trilling, piping, and twittering sounds are made in two circumstances - in flight or when threatened. The alarm call is a shrill trumpeting sound. Overall, this species is not very noisy.

How big is a comb-crested jacana?

This species of jacana can be anywhere between 8.3-9.4 in (21-24 cm) in length. The wingspan of the comb crested jacana ranges between 15.3-18.1 in (39-46 cm). The adult comb crested jacana is smaller than jacana species like the pheasant-tailed jacana.

How fast can a comb-crested jacana fly?

The comb crested jacana is not much of a flier. Therefore, the flight speed of the species is yet to be ascertained. The bird is clumsy while walking as well due to its huge feet.

How much does a comb-crested jacana weigh?

An adult male will weigh around 2.6-3.4 oz (75–97 g). On the other hand, the adult female will weigh around 4.2-5.9 oz (120–168 g).  They are somewhat bulkier than an average duck.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Both males and females are referred to as adult comb crested jacana.

What would you call a baby comb-crested jacana?

A baby comb crested jacana will be known as a chick.

What do they eat?

Like other wetland birds of the world, the comb crested jacana diet consists of insects, invertebrates and lily seeds, and aquatic vegetation. The freshwater wetlands are abundant in a range of plant seeds and aquatic species like mollusks. Despite the size difference, the male and female adults prey the same amount. The adult bird catches the aquatic insects on the water surface and seeds of floating plants. When searching for food, the jacana will continuously shake its head and flick its tail.

Are they poisonous?

No, these birds of the world are not poisonous, just like a crested duck.

Would they make a good pet?

The jacana is a wild bird that requires a specific habitat to thrive: freshwater wetlands with plenty of floating vegetation. As a result, this bird will not make a good pet.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

When the male comb crested jacana detects danger, he picks up and transports the chicks under his wings to safety.

The young bird is precocial so they can feed themselves.

Both the adult and young can dive and stay submerged with only their nostrils exposed.

Do comb-crested jacanas migrate?

The comb crested jacana does not migrate but is dispersive. They will widen their range and relocate within regions in response to natural disasters such as flooding or drought.

Is the comb-crested jacana endangered?

The comb crested jacana is not threatened. The comb crested jacana threats have been reported to be habitat loss and degradation. In New South Wales, for example, bird species have been designated as vulnerable. With the introduction of artificial impoundments in Australia, habitats have expanded.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our green heron facts and Australian pelican facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable bird coloring pages.

Subscribe for virtual tools, STEM-inspired play, creative tips and more

By joining Kidadl you agree to Kidadl’s and and consent to receiving marketing communications from Kidadl.