Panama to Bolivia, N. Argentina and Uruguay
Floating vegetation, grassy areas
Wild: Aquatic insects, mollusks, small fish, seeds of aquatic plants
Zoo: Flamingo fare, insects
Incubation: 22 to 24 days
Clutch: 3 to 6 eggs; usually 4
The length is about 10 inches. The head, neck, upper mantle, breast, central belly and under tail coverts are black. Elsewhere the coloration is a rich chestnut. Flight feathers are a pale greenish-yellow, very conspicuous in flight. Immatures are very different, being sooty brown above and more blackish on the crown, with a white stripe above the eye and a black stripe behind the eye. Otherwise they are grayish-brown above, with the sides of the head and under-parts whitish. The bill of the adult is yellow with a two-lobed yellow frontal shield. The bill of the immature is brownish with a pinkish or lilac frontal shield. The legs are long and grayish, with extremely long toes. Their tails are short.
Did You Know?
The eggs are strong-shelled, pear-shaped, and very highly polished because of waterproof layer over the shell. They are olive brown, and heavily scrolled with irregular twisting black lines. They are sometimes covered with scraps of vegetation when the parents are absent.
The Genus name, Jacana, is a Portuguese name for these birds. The species name is the same.
Where in the Zoo?
I can be found in the RainForest Aviary & Surrounding Exhibits at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.