Family Jacanas (Jacanidae)

Least Concern

Lesser Jacana (Microparra capensis)


French: Jacana nain German: Zwergblatthühnchen Spanish: Jacana chica

Parra capensis

A. Smith

, 1839,

Algoa Bay, South Africa


Species considered possibly to represent a neotenic form of Actophilornis africanus. Monotypic.


Mali and Ivory Coast patchily E to South Sudan and Ethiopia, then S through Uganda and Kenya to Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and E South Africa, extending W to E Angola and E Namibia.

Descriptive notes

c. 15–16 cm; c. 41 g. Much smaller than other jacanas; frontal shield very small or lacking. Extended wings dark with conspicuous white trailing edges to inner... read more


A quiet low-pitched “poop” repeated up to five times per second for up to five seconds; also a... read more


Shallow water around edges of permanent and seasonally flooded wetlands, especially areas of... read more

Food and feeding

Primarily insects; also reported to take bits of aquatic vegetation on occasion. Insects are gleaned from the substrate and from emergent... read more


Season highly variable throughout range, in response to wide range of wet seasons and avai­lability of suitable habitat; May in Kenya;... read more


Poorly known. Species is permanent resident on permanent wetlands apparently throughout most of... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). No overall estimate of population size, but fewer than 1000 individuals thought to occur in Mali and concentration of up to 2000... read more

Recommended citation

Jenni, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Lesser Jacana (Microparra capensis). 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 18 March 2019).