From the Aviary

By Madhurima Das

“From the Aviary” is a column dedicated to the birds at Puttenahalli Lake. In every edition, we will cover one bird. This edition is dedicated to the beautiful Pheasant Tailed Jacana.

Around 97 species of birds have been spotted at the Puttenahalli lake (throughout the year). These can be broadly classified into residents, local migrants and seasonal migrants. Of the local migrants, one of the most interesting birds is the Pheasant Tailed Jacana.

The Pheasant Tailed Jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus), like all jacanas, is a member of the Jacanidae family. They are waders with wide feet and claws. These features enable them to walk on floating vegetation.jacana-family

The Pheasant Tailed Jacana is the only Jacana to have a breeding plumage when it sports a long whip-like tail and has a golden neck. The rest of the bird’s body is black or white. A non-breeding adult is mostly brown, with a striking black stripe on the neck which goes over the eye.

Another remarkable feature of these jacanas is their matriarchal social structure. The females are polyandrous and may lay several clutches of eggs, with several different males. The males take care of the eggs and later the chicks.

Pheasant Tailed Jacanas have been seen at lake since 2011. In 2015, a breeding pair nested here, and had at least 3 chicks. This year, although 3 breeding pairs were observed, none of them nested.