Africa, southern Asia, Pacific islands, Australia, Mexico, Central America, and South America
Wetlands; water with lots of floating vegetation, especially water lilies
Water insects, small fish
6 to 23 inches long, depending on the species; females are larger than males.
Chicks hatch from eggs and are raised by the male.
When spread out, a jacana’s toes and claws can cover an area about 5 by 8 inches.
Neat Feet!



Look at the pictures in the slideshow above: a jacana’s toes are longer than its nose! The super-long toes spread the birdAn animal that has wings and is covered with feathers. Birds have a backbone, are warm-blooded, produce young from eggs, and walk on their two legs. Most can fly.’s weight over a large area. This allows them to walk across floating plants without sinking. Jacanas are so well-known for walking on lily pads that some people call them lily-trotters.


Jacanas walk across lily pads and other plants to find their food. Insects and little fish like to hide in and under water plants. But a jacana simply uses its beakThe hard mouthpart of a bird and some other animals. The beak can also be called a bill. to turn over a piece of plantAny living thing that is not an animal. Plants live on sunlight and water instead of food. Plants generally cannot move on their own, and are not able to smell, hear, see, or touch. and quickly snatch its preyNoun: An animal that is hunted as food by another animal. Verb: To attempt to take an animal for food..


These colorful birds also build their nest on bunches of water plants that form tiny, floating islands. A female jacana lays up to four eggs in a nest, and then she leaves. The male jacana sits on the eggs and takes care of the chicks when they hatch!