Family Jacanas (Jacanidae)

Least Concern

Pheasant-tailed Jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus)


French: Jacana à longue queue German: Wasserfasan Spanish: Jacana colilarga

Tringa Chirurgus


, 1786,

Luzon, Philippines




NE Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka through Myanmar to SE China and Taiwan, and S to SE Asia, S Borneo and Philippines. Winters sparsely S to Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Java, with a handful of records from Bali#R, and also W to Oman and Yemen.

Descriptive notes

39–58 cm (including 25–35 cm tail), in non-breeding plumage c. 31 cm; male c. 120–140 g, female c. 190–231 g. The only jacana with different breeding... read more


During breeding season gives either a loud “me-e-ou” or “me-onp”, while non... read more


Extensive freshwater wetlands, including lakes, ponds, reservoirs, paddies and swampy ground;... read more

Food and feeding

Insects and invertebrates; reports that diet is vegetarian in India must be in error, but some aquatic vegetation ingested accidentally or... read more


Season limited to summer months, Jun–early Sept at N limits, and to wet or monsoon months in India, Sri Lanka and SE Asia.... read more


Makes local movements year-round, in response to changing water conditions throughout most of... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). No overall estimate of population. Totally dependent on suitable wetlands; use of shallow water by human populations for growing... read more

Recommended citation

Jenni, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Pheasant-tailed Jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus). 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 22 January 2019).