African Jacana is new for the Likweti bird list. This lovely waterbird generally favours water lilies that it can walk on with extra long toes specifically designed for this purpose. As it moves over the lily leaves, it turns them over looking for snails and the like on the underside.
Something else unique about this striking bird is its manner of breeding. Females are polyandrous, which in simple terms means she has a “harem” of submissive males and she is a bit of a nymphomaniac. She runs after the guys who mate with her and she will do this with as many as she can catch. She then lays three or four beautifully marked eggs on a flimsy, floating platform provided by the guys who feel responsible. The males incubate the eggs and take full care of their children when they hatch.
Nature has provided good reason for this breeding behaviour as the flimsy, floating nests are easy to rob by predators such as monitor lizards, otters, water mongooses, snakes and other creatures that live in that environment. The female African Jacana must lay as many eggs as she can to make certain that at least some of them survive.
Thanks again to Peter finding these birds earlier this month.
Pic: Jacques de Villiers