The Comb-crested Jacana (Irediparra gallinacea), also known as the Lotusbird or Lilytrotter, is the only species of jacana in the genus Irediparra. Like other jacana species, it is adapted to the floating vegetation of tropical freshwater wetlands.
Jacana is Linnæus' pseudo-Latin misspelling for the Brazilian Portuguese Jaçanã (from a Tupi name of the same bird) whose pronunciation is approximately [?a.sa.náN].
This species is unmistakable. It has a black crown and hindneck with a fleshy red wattle covering the forehead and forecrown, contrasting with a white face and throat. There is a broad black band on the lower breast with white belly. Underwing black. Back and upperwing mainly grey-brown with black primary coverts, rump and tail. Long legs with extremely long toes. Measurements: length (male) 20-21 cm, (female) 24-27 cm; wingspan 39-46 cm; weight (male) 85 g, (female) 140 g.
Distribution and habitat
It occurs in southeastern Borneo, the southern Philippines, Sulawesi, Moluccas, Lesser Sunda Islands, New Guinea, New Britain, and northern and eastern Australia. Its habitat is freshwater wetlands with abundant floating vegetation, such as water-lilies or water hyacinth, forming a mat on the water surface.
It eats seeds and aquatic insects gleaned from floating vegetation or the water surface.
This species gives a squeaky, high-pitched chittering.
The Comb-crested Jacan is polyandrous. It builds a flimsy nest on floating or emergent vegetation, in which the female lays four lustrous, pale brown eggs covered by black markings. Only males incubate. The young hatch well-developed and soon leave the nest.