African Jacana (Actophilornis africanus)

A medium sized bird of 12" (30cm). Known commonly as "The Lily-trotter", it is a waterbird with incredibly long toes. It has a blue bill and forehead shield, with chestnut body and wings. The foreneck is white, while the upper breast is golden yellow.

The roles of the sexes are reversed, when breeding. The females, larger than the males, are outrageously flirtatious and mate with several partners. Males build the nests, incubate the eggs and raise the young, without intervention by the female. This rare behaviour is known as 'polyandry'. Females therefore have many clutches of eggs, assisting with the high egg-loss of this species.

Insects, found particularly amongst water lilies.

A common resident of freshwater bodies with floating vegetation, from central to south-west Kenya below 3000m. Also along Rift Valley lakes.

Extra Facts
When in flight, they 'flutter' and appear to be 'all feet', which trail behind by a body-length. They swim and dive well.

Photographed at Lake Naivasha.

Categories & Keywords
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:african jacana, bird, jacana, kenya, lily trotter, wildlife

African Jacana

African Jacana, walking across Water Hyacinth along the shores of Kenya's Lake Naivasha.