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Charadriiformes > Jacanidae

Northern Jacana

Jacana spinosa

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Identification

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Fancy-looking, vaguely chicken-like bird of freshwater marshes, lakes, and ponds in tropical lowlands, locally in highlands. Walks with high-stepping gait, often on top of floating vegetation (note its very long toes!). Adult is chestnut overall with black head and neck; immature looks very different, with creamy-white face, neck, and underparts. Bright yellow wings striking in flight, when birds usually give shrieks and other raucous calls. Flies with stiff wingbeats and glides, the long feet trailing out behind.

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Learn more about Northern Jacana from…

Birds of North America

Comprehensive life histories of North American breeding birds

Neotropical Birds

Life histories of all species breeding in Mexico, Central America, and South America