Aquatic birds in Livingston: Janaca (Jacana spinosa)
Livingston, Izabal Maya-Ethnozoology News

Aquatic birds in Livingston: Janaca (Jacana spinosa)

In El Golfete, Livingston you can find an aquatic garden, also known as a botanic garden, a magical place where you can find many water lilies, Nymphoides indica and Nymphea ampla.

It is a very photogenic place! While we were taking pictures of the water lilies we saw a Jacana (Jacana spinose) that in the distance seemed to be looking for food among the leaves of the plant. After a moment we saw that it was staying in one place and seemed to be brooding. Our drone pilot and audiovisual creator was taking video with a telephoto lens and was able to observe that there were eggs.

It seemed strange to us, since we imagined that their nests were made in a tree or on the ground and not in leaves on the water. we have already observed chicks of this species of bird running on the leaves in Río Dulce. Its long fingers allow it to scamper through water lilies and other floating vegetation and that’s how searches for food; like insects from the surface of plants or water. Sometimes shallow below the surface or also searches for food in the mud or on bare soil near water. Jacana spinose occurs from Mexico to Panama.


Jacana spinosa at Rio Lámpara, Livingston. September, 2021.
Photo by David Arrivillaga, FLAAR Mesoamerica.

Nesting: A female jacana can have up to 4 pairs, laying the eggs in separate nests for each pair. In the incubation the males are almost completely in charge and even take care of the Jacana babies. The nests are located in swampy vegetation, either in fixed or floating plants, the nest has a simple flimsy open cup shape, it is made by the male with available plant material that he finds. Jacana eggs are almost round, brown with black stripes and the incubation time is approximately 23 days.














Jacana spinosa

Common Name:

Jacana, Jacanita, Jacana norteña


Written by: Roxana Leal, Vivian Hurtado, Victor Mendoza.
ID by: Victor Mendoza.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *