August 13, 2013
The Bronze winged Jacana pictures that you are about to view are commonly observed in water bodies, ponds, lakes, wet lands, marshy areas in and around Mangalore and almost in all similar habitats throughout India. We request you to take time to stop while you drive towards Padil, Bejai, Nantoor, Kavoor, Ullal, or Suratkal and observe these bronze colored beauties in their natural wetland habitats. This brief article is written to awaken the senses of the common citizens to the accelerated disappearance of marshy areas and wetlands in and around Mangalore in particular and the rest of the Country in general, leading to the disappearance of these winged beauties. Today, many of these habitats in and around cities are drained to allow for urbanization. These natural buffering areas continue to be under direct and indirect pressures from human settlement that may result in further loss or degradation.
As explained in most of our earlier articles on nature conservation, this particular article is written as an eye opener to maintain the natural balances disrupted by recent human activity. These wetlands help buffer the city from cyclones, floods and drought. Little do we realize that these wetland and marshy areas are our first line of defense during tropical storms? However, due to construction activity, many of these wetlands are disappearing at a spectacularly swift pace. By 2020, if nothing is done to stop this process, the country could lose more than 50 % of the coastal wetlands. Importantly, our beautiful city Mangalore with its pristine surroundings will become even more vulnerable to future impacts of climate change in the form of cyclones and floods.
The many pictures depicted in this article capture the Bronze winged Jacana's bird movement right from an adult to a juvenile. Whenever we have the opportunity to write an article and post pictures in Daijiworld, we take care to provide pictures of the subject in many different angles so that school children and nature lovers can identify the birds more accurately in the field. Kindly note, a small shift in angle will reveal altogether new details that are important for identification. We do hope you enjoy the pictures and take time to spot these wonders during your week end sojourns.
The Bronze winged Jacana are a group of waders with short tails. The legs and toes are long with enormous straight claws which enable the birds to run easily over the floating leaves of aquatic leaves. The bird has a wide distribution throughout India. The bird is sedentary and the female lays four black marked brown eggs in a floating nest. The males take responsibility for incubation. These birds can also be found in ponds very close to human habitation and when disturbed or threatened seek refuge in the undergrowth of weeds or try to hide by covering lotus leaves as depicted in a few of the pictures. Even though, scientific literature points out to the fact that these birds are highly territorial, our observations point out that that a group of six to seven birds share a common territory. We have observed a large population of these birds during summer times and they wonderfully co exist with humans.
Description: These are conspicuous and unmistakable birds. They are 28 to 29cm (~11") long, but the females are larger than the males. Adult birds have beautiful bronze colored wings, with a striking white eye stripe. The yellow bill extends up as a red coot-like head shield, and the legs and very long toes are grey. Young birds have brown upperparts. Their under parts are white, with a buff fore neck.
Diet: The Bronze-winged Jacana's feeds on insects and other invertebrates (= animals without internal skeleton, such as larvae, earthworms, millipedes, snails, spiders) picked from the floating vegetation or the water's surface.
Mating: Bronze Winged Jacanas have a territorial, sex-role reversed system. They are polyandrous, and the females are larger and more brightly colored than their male counterparts. The females compete with each other for harems of males to incubate their clutches of eggs. Each female’s territory encompasses one to four males and their individual territories.
Conclusion: The relation between wetlands and birds is shaped by many factors like availability of food and shelter. We have observed many species of birds in and around Mangalore, both resident and migratory, but over the past few years (5 years) bird numbers seem to be declining and the single most threat to birds is Habitat loss. Loss of such wetland ecosystems has huge impact on birds because many aquatic birds depend on wetlands almost totally for breeding, nesting, feeding, or shelter during their breeding cycles. Another important point that we would like to make is that there is very little information regarding the Bronze winged Jacanas behavior on the World Wide Web. It is time, for students to carry out a small project on this beautiful bird and publish it on the net.
Dr Anand & Geeta Pereira - Archives
- Turn over a new 'Leaf' - Stop food wastage
- The Pied Kingfisher
- The Lord of the Jungle...King Cobra
- Eurasian Spoonbill
- Birds...Through the Lens of a Seven-year-old
- Pioneering Innovative, Energy Efficient Sprinkler Systems
- Birds of Prey - How Many Can You Identify?
- Spectacled Indian Cobra
- Conservation of Forests - a Guide to Carbon Credits
- The Value of Forests
- The World of Pelicans
- Impact of Climate Change on Wildlife
- The Winged Wonders...
- Rare Leopard Cat
- Mushrooms and Health...
- Bird Biodiversity
- A Walk Through the Wilderness
- Coffee Forests - a Gateway to Wild Life
- Bird Paradise of Western Ghats
- Amazing Slender Loris..
- Coffee - The Amazing Elixir for Young and Old
- Butterflies - The Flying Jewels of the Western Ghats
- The Fascinating World of Mushrooms
- Rare Aquatic Bird Species of Western Ghats
- Human - Elephant Conflict
- Snakes - Nature's Most Misunderstood Creatures