Jacanae

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Jacanae

 

(jacanas), a suborder of birds of the order Charadriiformes. The body ranges in length from 16.5 cm to 53 cm. The wings are broad, with a horny spur on the bend. Jacanas fly with difficulty, remaining close to the water’s surface. The legs have very long, thin toes and claws, which enable the birds to run with ease on the leaves of aquatic plants and swampy banks. Jacanas are capable of swimming and dive when pursued.

The suborder includes one family with seven species. The birds are distributed in the tropics of America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Hydrophasianus chirurgus, a migratory bird common in Asia, has been captured in the USSR near Vladivostok. Like other jacanas, it inhabits overgrown bodies of water and nests on floating plants. The females mate with several males, laying seven to ten clutches per season. There are four eggs in each clutch. The male alone broods for 26 days and rears the young. Except during the nesting season, the birds live in flocks. They feed on shoots, seeds, insects, and mollusks.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.