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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Jacana \Jac"a*na`\, n. [Cf. Sp. jacania.] (Zo["o]l.) Any of several wading birds belonging to the genus Jacana and several allied genera, all of which have spurs on the wings. They are able to run about over floating water weeds by means of their very long, spreading toes. Called also surgeon bird.

Note: The most common South American species is Jacana spinosa. The East Indian or pheasant jacana ( Hydrophasianus chirurgus) is remarkable for having four very long, curved, middle tail feathers.


n. A group of wading birds in the family Jacanidae, usually having long toes and claws and found throughout the world.


The jacanas (sometimes referred to as Jesus birds or lily trotters) are a group of tropical waders in the familyJacanidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone. See Etymology below for pronunciation.

Eight species of jacana are known from six genera. The fossil record of this family is restricted to a recent fossil of the wattled jacana from Brazil and a Pliocene fossil of an extinct species, Jacana farrandi, from Florida. A fossil from Miocene rocks in the Czech Republic was assigned to this family, but more recent analysis disputes the placement and moves the species to the Coraciidae.

They are identifiable by their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation in the shallow lakes that are their preferred habitat. They have sharp bills and rounded wings, and many species also have wattles on their foreheads.

In terms of sexual size dimorphism, female Jacanas are larger than the males. The latter, as in some other wader families like the phalaropes, take responsibility for incubation, and some species (notably the northern jacana) are polyandrous. However, adults of both sexes look identical, as with most shorebirds. They construct relatively flimsy nests on floating vegetation, and lay eggs with dark irregular lines on their shells, providing camouflage amongst water weeds.

Their diet consists of insects and other invertebrates picked from the floating vegetation or the water’s surface.

Most species are sedentary, but the pheasant-tailed jacana migrates from the north of its range into peninsular India and southeast Asia.

Jaçanã (district of São Paulo)

Jaçanã is a district of the city of São Paulo, Brazil. It constitutes with Tremembé the subprefecture Jaçanã-Tremembé, marking the northern boundaries of the city.

Like Parelheiros, most of the area of this borough is rural, although in the southern areas there is an urban area. It contains the Cantareira Park, the largest native urban forest in the world.

In 1870, the borough was known as Uroguapira because it was thought that there was gold ( Portugueseouro) in the area. As this was only a rumor, the name given by the aboriginal people for the region of the Cantareira was shortened to Guapira. On 1 June 1930, the name of the borough was changed to Jaçanã (a bird known in English as the wattled jacana).

The borough of Jaçanã became known not only in São Paulo, but also in diverse parts of Brazil because of the music " Trem das Onze", by Adoniran Barbosa. In 1949 Jaçanã became the site of the first film studio of São Paulo: the Cinematographic Company Maristela, the main cultural focus of the borough.

Located in the north of the city of São Paulo, the district of Jaçanã, according to Census 2000, carried out for the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics ( IBGE), has a population of approximately 91,649 inhabitants: 43,702 men and 47,947 women.

Category:Districts of São Paulo

Jacana (genus)

Jacana is the genus comprising the two jacanas of the Americas: the northern jacana, Jacana spinosa, and the wattled jacana, Jacana jacana.

These birds are very similar to each other: about long, with long necks and fairly long yellow bills. Adults are black and chestnut-brown, with pale yellow-green flight feathers that contrast conspicuously when a bird flies. Their legs are long and grayish, and as in all jacanas, their toes are extremely long, for walking on aquatic vegetation such as lily pads. They have frontal shields (like those of coots) and wattles; differences in these are the most noticeable differences between the species. Juveniles are brown above and white below, with a buff-white stripe above the eye and a dark stripe behind it. The dark colors are somewhat darker on the juvenile wattled jacana than on the northern.

Together the species occur in marshes in the American tropics and subtropics. The northern jacana's range meets that of the wattled jacana in western Panama.

As in most other jacanas, males build the nests, incubate, and brood the chicks. Both these species are polyandrous, at least in some circumstances. Females lay separate clutches (of four eggs) for up to four mates, each of which tends his clutch alone.

For the etymology and pronunciation of Jacana, see the family article.

Jacana (disambiguation)

Jacana may refer to:

  • Jacana, a tropical wader of the family Jacanidae
  • Jacana (genus), a genus comprising the two jacanas of the Americas
  • Jácana, a tree ( Pouteria multiflora) in the Sapotaceae family of the Ericales order
  • , a Falcon-class motor minesweeper

Usage examples of "jacana".

Hudson gives in his master-work on La Plata the most interesting description, which must be read in the original, of complicated dances, performed by quite a number of birds: rails, jacanas, lapwings, and so on.

Ahead of them the cormorants beat the water with their wings in their frenzied efforts to launch into flight, while the chocolate and white jacanas scurried across the lily pads and the sinister log-like shapes of the crocodiles slid down the bank into deep water.

The best known of these female sultans are the shore birds called jacanas (alias lily-trotters), Spotted Sandpipers, and Wilson's Phalaropes.

Only among a minority of species, such as the tropical jacanas and southerly populations of Spotted Sandpipers, is polyandry frequent or routine.