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Comb-crested Jacana - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by creaturesnapper
Sandy Camp Reserve, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, September 2017
Irediparra gallinacea


Photo © by tcollins
Fogg Dam, Northern Territory, Australia, May 2008

21-24 cm (8¼-9½ in) female smaller than male

  • Black crown and hindneck
  • Red wattle covers the forehead and forecrown
  • White face and throat
  • Black band on lower breast
  • White belly
  • Black underwing
  • Brown mantle, back and upperwing-coverts
  • Black rump and tail
  • Long legs


Southeast Asia: Indochina, Malaysia, Philippines, Borneo, Indonesia, Greater Sundas, Sulawesi, Lesser Sundas, West Timor, Moluccas, Tanimbar Islands and Papuan Islands
Australasia: New Guinea, Australia: New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia and Melanesia.



Photo © by Ken Doy
Sandy Camp Road Wetlands, Brisbane, Queensland, January 2016

There are 3 subspecies1:

  • I. g. gallinacea:
  • I. g. novaeguinae:
  • Northern and central New Guinea, Misool Island and Aru Islands
  • I. g. novaehollandiae:
  • Southern New Guinea, D'Entrecasteaux Archaepelago and northern and eastern Australia


Swamps and marshes, freshwater wetlands with floating vegetation.


Sometimes called the Jesus bird because it appears to walk on water. They actually walk on lily pads. The red flash on the head is skin and is brightest during breeding.


Their diet consists mostly of aquatic insects and invertebrates, also seeds. They feed by walking on lily pads and glean from the leaves or under the surface of the water.

Photo © by Ken Doy
Minnippi Parklands, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
30 September 2019


The nest is built on floating vegetation; 4 pale brown, black marked eggs are laid and incubated by the male.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved January 2016)
  4. Beauty of Birds

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