Friday, 22 March 2019

Pheasant-tailed Jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus)

Latin Etymology: Hydrophasianus ("water pheasant") chirurgus ("surgeon")
Two non-breeding Pheasant-tailed Jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus) at Phnom Krom, Cambodia - February 2019

Featured Subspecies: N/A
Weight: 113-135g  /  Length: 39-58cm  /  Wingspan: 63-68cm
ABSENT FROM UK IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The jacanas are a small unique group of waders characterised by having enormous feet which they use to live their lives based around floating vegetation such as lillies.  Amongst the eight species, the pheasant-tailed is a bit of an oddity - it's the only one to have a specific breeding plumage (including the namesake pheasant-tail) and the only one to migrate.  Given they seemed to favour the cover of lotus fields, they flushed very easily from a distance.  They are also an unusual example of a polyandrous species, where the female may mate with multiple males throughout the breeding season and leave them to do the incubating and raising of the chicks.

Related Species:
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Jacanidae
Genus: Hydrophasianus
SUBSPECIES: none - monotypic 

 - Sighting Locations -
CAMBODIA Khmer name: ព្រហីតស ("Jacana")
Locally common resident
SINGAPORE / CAMBODIA 2019 TRIP - Numerous at Phnom Krom

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto

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