Bronze-winged Jacana

M. indicus

Last updated: May 27, 2024
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
Sumruay Rattanataipob/Shutterstock.com

Fathers pick up their young and carry them under their wings


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Bronze-winged Jacana Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Charadriiformes
Family
Jacanidae
Genus
Metopidius
Scientific Name
M. indicus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Bronze-winged Jacana Conservation Status

Bronze-winged Jacana Locations

Bronze-winged Jacana Locations

Bronze-winged Jacana Facts

Prey
Vegetation, insects, larvae, crustaceans, and other invertebrates
Main Prey
Insects
Name Of Young
Chicks
Group Behavior
  • Mainly solitary
Fun Fact
Fathers pick up their young and carry them under their wings
Estimated Population Size
Unknown
Biggest Threat
Habitat loss
Most Distinctive Feature
Enormous feet with elongated toes
Distinctive Feature
Frontal shield and stubby tails
Wingspan
21 inches
Incubation Period
29 days
Age Of Independence
10 weeks
Habitat
Temperate coniferous forests
Predators
Birds of prey, turtles, large fish, and snakes
Diet
Omnivore
Lifestyle
  • Diurnal
Type
Bird
Common Name
Bronze-winged jacana
Special Features
Wing spurs
Location
Southeast Asia
Average Clutch Size
4
Nesting Location
Floating vegetation near the water's edge

Bronze-winged Jacana Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Yellow
  • Black
  • White
  • Gold
  • Chestnut
Skin Type
Feathers
Weight
5 to 12 ounces
Length
11 inches

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“They submerge themselves in water when threatened.”

Summary

The bronze-winged jacana is a large wader from Southeast Asia. They inhibit lowland wetlands, where they spend their time foraging for food on floating aquatic vegetation. Jacanas are unusual birds who swap traditional roles; females focus on mating, and males raise the young. Discover all the fascinating facts about this Asian bird species, including where you can find it and how it reproduces and cares for its young.

5 Amazing Bronze-Winged Jacana Facts

  • Bronze-winged jacanas are relatively solitary and spend their days foraging on aquatic vegetation.
  • Male jacanas care for their young by themselves, while females mate with multiple partners.
  • Fathers pick up their chicks and carry them under their wings.
  • These birds experience a high level of nest predation from birds of prey, snakes, fish, and turtles.
  • Their calls are a wheezy piping sound.

Where to Find the Bronze-Winged Jacana

The bronze-winged jacana lives in 12 countries in South and Southeast Asia, including China, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Thailand. They live in the Indomalayan biogeographical realm and inhabit temperate coniferous forests. They occur across the entire Indian subcontinent, except Pakistan and Sri Lanka. You will typically find this bird in lowland elevations in wetlands covered in weeds. 

Bronze-Winged Jacana Nest

Males build a nest platform made of stems and leaves, which they place on floating vegetation near the water’s edge. Sometimes they just put their eggs on a lotus plant leaf. The nest is covered by vegetation to shield it from predators.

Scientific Name

The bronze-winged jacana (Metopidius Indicus) is from the Charadriiformes order, which includes 390 species of small to medium-sized birds who live near water and eat invertebrates. Its Jacanidae family is a group of waders (jacanas) in tropical regions worldwide. The bronze-winged jacana is the only species in the Metopidius genus, and it means “on the forehead” in Ancient Greek, referring to its facial shield. Its specific name, Indicus, is Latin for “Indian.” There are no recognized subspecies.

Size, Appearance, & Behavior

Bronze-winged Jacana

These jacanas are relatively solitary; you will often find them alone or in pairs.

The bronze-winged jacana is a large wader, measuring 11 inches in length, weighing five to 12 ounces, with a 21-inch wingspan (1.75 feet). The sexes look similar, but females are slightly larger. They have wing spurs, stubby tails, a frontal shield extending over their forehead, and long toes with elongated nails. Its wings are bronze with an iridescent green sheen, and its head and breast are black, with a broad white line across its eye. Its lower back and tail are a chestnut color, and its bill is yellow, with a reddish-purple front shield. 

These jacanas are relatively solitary; you will often find them alone or in pairs. They spend their days foraging on aquatic vegetation as they balance on the water with their long feet and toes. Their call is a wheezing piping sound, which they typically give when surprised. 

Migration Pattern and Timing

The bronze-winged jacana is nonmigratory, except when they temporarily disperse from their environment in response to drought or rain.

Diet

Bronze-winged jacanas are omnivores that forage alone or in pairs.

What Does the Bronze-Winged Jacana Eat?

They eat aquatic vegetation, insects, larvae, crustaceans, and other invertebrates. They forage by wading on the water with their long legs and toes, picking food off floating vegetation. While these birds can swim and fly, they prefer to walk across the water, occasionally grabbing flying insects mid-air.

Predators, Threats, and Conservation Status

The IUCN lists the bronze-winged jacana as LC or “least concern.” Due to their extensive range and sizeable estimated population, this species does not meet the “threatened” status thresholds. Habitat loss is their primary threat.

What Eats the Bronze-Winged Jacana?

The bronze-winged jacana is highly susceptible to nest predation. Their top predators include birds of prey, turtles, large fish, and snakes. The father is very protective of his young and will scoop the chicks up, carrying them under his wings as he takes them to safety. These birds will also submerge themselves in water when threatened.

Reproduction, Young, and Molting

Bronze-winged jacanas reverse their sex roles, with females competing for mates and the males raising the young. Females are polyandrous, meaning they have multiple partners, often maintaining harems of males to incubate their eggs. If males suspect they are not the biological father, they will destroy the egg clutch. They breed during the monsoon season, typically between June and September. Females lay four smooth brown eggs with black markings, and males incubate them for 29 days. The chicks are independent of their father when they reach ten weeks old. Its age of molting and lifespan is unknown.

Population

The global population for the bronze-winged jacana is unknown, but there don’t appear to be any extreme fluctuations or fragmentations in their numbers. Their population trend is challenging to determine because we don’t know the impacts of habitat loss on their population size. It’s expected to be on a decline, but they are thought to have a large range. 

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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals, and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

Bronze-winged Jacana FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Where do bronze-winged jacanas live?

The bronze-winged jacana lives in 12 countries in South and Southeast Asia, including China, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Thailand. They live in the Indomalayan biogeographical realm and inhabit temperate coniferous forests.

How big are bronze-winged jacanas?

The bronze-winged jacana is a large wader, measuring 11 inches in length, weighing five to 12 ounces, with a 21-inch wingspan (1.75 feet).

What do bronze-winged jacanas look like?

They have wing spurs, stubby tails, a frontal shield extending over their forehead, and long toes with elongated nails. Its wings are bronze with an iridescent green sheen, and its head and breast are black, with a broad white line across its eye.

What do bronze-winged jacanas sound like?

Their call is a wheezing piping sound, which they typically give when surprised.

Do bronze-winged jacanas migrate?

The bronze-winged jacana is nonmigratory, except when they temporarily disperse from their environment in response to drought or rain.

What do bronze-winged jacanas eat?

They eat aquatic vegetation, insects, larvae, crustaceans, and other invertebrates.

How do bronze-winged jacanas protect themselves?

The father is very protective of his young and will scoop the chicks up, carrying them under his wings as he takes them to safety. These birds will also submerge themselves in water when threatened.

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