Family Jacanas (Jacanidae)

Least Concern

African Jacana (Actophilornis africanus)


French: Jacana à poitrine dorée German: Blaustirn-Blatthühnchen Spanish: Jacana africana

Parra africana

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,



Closely related to A. albinucha. Monotypic.


Wetlands throughout sub-Saharan Africa; largely absent from forest belts and arid zones.

Descriptive notes

23–31 cm; male 115–224 g, female 167–290 g. Bill continuous with large frontal shield, both pale blue to grey-blue; rest of crown and hindneck black; sides... read more


Noisy, with strident and varied calls, with a rattling screech given on take-off, which becomes “... read more


Permanent and seasonally flooded shallow freshwater wetlands, especially swamps and backwaters of... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly insects (e.g. dipterans) and worms, but also other arthropods, including spiders and crustaceans, and molluscs (probably Bolinus... read more


Breeds year-round in suitable permanent wetlands, but seasonally in seasonally flooded areas; most nests apparently Oct–Nov in Sierra... read more


Not migratory, but extremely nomadic, often in connection with changing water levels, moving along... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally common to abundant throughout most of extensive range, but no overall population estimate and few regional estimates, but... read more

Recommended citation

Jenni, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). African Jacana (Actophilornis africanus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 20 September 2019).