From the Aviary: Bronze Winged Jacanas

By Madhurima Das

In this edition of “From the Aviary”, we speak about another interesting member of the Jacana family: the bronze winged jacana.

The bronze winged jacanas are the only members of the genus Metopidius. They are easily identifiable with bronze coloured wings and striking white eye stripes. Like other members of the Jacanidae family, they have huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation.

Bronze Winged Jacana

They follow a matriarchal structure of mating, wherein the females compete among each other for territory and males. The females have harems comprising upto 4 males. Males vie for female attention using “yells”. One of the males, the receiver, receives the clutch of eggs, looks after their incubation, and raises the chicks upon hatching.

From 2011, this bird was classified as a local migrant to Puttenahalli lake. This status changed in July 2016, when a pair of these birds was sighted regularly at the lake. In May 2017, the resident bronze winged jacana pair was seen with a chick. However, after one sighting, the chick has not been spotted again. This has led to speculation about its safety, given the presence of various predators at the lake. As indicated from studies in other Jacana species, chicks are also in danger from rival females. A third Bronze winged jacana was also spotted at the lake, being chased by the chick’s parents. This could have been a rival female trying to stake claim to the territory by killing the chick.

At this point in time, we are hoping that the chick is safe, and that the Bronze winged jacanas will continue to nest at Puttenahalli Lake.