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Pheasant-tailed Jacana - BirdForum Opus

Breeding Pair
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Basai Wetland, Gurgaon, Haryana, India, 7 May 2018
Hydrophasianus chirurgus


Non-breeding Plumage
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Dist. Jhajjar, Haryana, India, 18 November 2014

39–58 cm (15¼-22¾ in); tail in breeding season 14-23 cm. Females larger

  • Black overall plumage
  • White wings, head and foreneck
  • Golden hindneck

Grey legs and very long toes
Non-breeding adult lacks the long tail. White underparts, except for a brown breast band and neck stripe. The side of the neck is golden.
Young birds have brown upperparts. The underparts are white, with a weak brown breast band.


India, south east Asia and the Philippines.


Photo © by Shantilal Varu
Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India, 28 September 2017

This is a monotypic species[1].


Photo © by saralagamage
Bundala, Sri Lanka, 13 October 2012

Wetlands, particularly in central plain.



The female lays 4 brown eggs with black markings in floating nests. They are incubated by the male, who also cares for the young. The female mates with possibly up to 10 more males through the season.


Their diet consists almost entirely of insects and invertebrates. Gleaned from the water's surface or from floating vegetation.


Their call is a mewing me-onp and a nasal teeun.
In the following recording, can be heard four types of calls / song produced by a pair of Jacanas, feeding in the wetland and was dived and harassed by Red-wattled Lapwings and House Crows. Occasional calls by the latter two are also heard in the background.

Recording © by Alok Tewari
Basai Wetlands, Gurgaon, Haryana, India, June-2015.


Click images to see larger version


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Jenni, D. A. and G. M. Kirwan (2020). Pheasant-tailed Jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.phtjac1.01
  3. The Beauty of Birds

Recommended Citation

External Links

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