Northern jaçana Jacana spinosa, photographed by D. W. Baker.

Belongs within: Charadriiformes.

The Jacanidae are the jaçanas, extremely long-toed birds found around vegetation-filled water bodies in tropical and subtropical parts. Their long toes allow them to walk on the surface of floating vegetation such as waterlilies and lotuses. Jaçanas also possess a frontal shield above the beak, and sharp horny spurs on the bend of their wings (Austin 1961). They are often strikingly coloured. Species of the type genus Jacana, found in the Americas, are black with chestnut-brown wings and back; the wattled jaçana Jacana jacana has red wattles behind the bill in addition to the red frontal shield.

<==Jacanidae [Parridae]
    |  i. s.: Nupharanassa Rasmussen, Olson & Simons 1987 M02
    |           |--*N. bulotorum Rasmussen et al. 1987 M02
    |           `--N. tolutaria Rasmussen et al. 1987 M02
    |--+--Hydrophasianus chirurgus JT12
    |  `--Jacana Brisson 1760 JT12, B94 [incl. Parra Linné 1766 B94]
    |       |--‘Parra’ africana S66
    |       |--‘Parra’ albinucha S66
    |       |--J. gallinacea SJ85
    |       |--J. jacana (Linné 1766) ME04 [=Parra jacana SS66]
    |       `--J. spinosa ZJM03
    `--+--+--Metopidius indicus JT12
       |  `--Actophilornis JT12
       |       |--A. africanus JT12
       |       `--A. albinucha ZJM03
       `--+--Microparra capensis JT12
          `--Irediparra gallinacea (Temminck 1828) JT12, WS48 [=Parra gallinacea WS48, Metopidius gallinaceus M03]
               |--I. g. gallinacea WS48
               `--I. g. novaehollandiae (Salvadori 1882) (see below for synonymy) WS48

Irediparra gallinacea novaehollandiae (Salvadori 1882) [=Hydralector novaehollandiae; incl. I. gallinacea rothschildi Mathews 1912] WS48

*Type species of generic name indicated


Austin, O. L., Jr. 1961. Birds of the World: A survey of the twenty-seven orders and one hundred and fifty-five families. Paul Hamlyn: London.

[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1-281.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444-448.

[ME04] Mayr, G., & P. G. P. Ericson. 2004. Evidence for a sister group relationship between the Madagascan mesites (Mesitornithidae) and the cuckoos (Cuculidae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 84 (1-2): 1-17.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

[M03] Morcombe, M. 2003. Field Guide to Australian Birds, 2nd ed. Steve Parish Publishing.

[S66] Schlegel, H. 1866. Communication from, on mammals and birds collected in Madagascar. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 419-426.

[SS66] Sclater, P. L., & O. Salvin. 1866. Catalogue of birds collected by Mr. E. Bartlett on the River Uyacali, Eastern Peru, with notes and descriptions of new species. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 175-201.

[SJ85] Storr, G. M., & R. E. Johnstone. 1985. Field Guide to the Birds of Western Australia 2nd ed. Western Australian Museum: Perth (Australia).

[WS48] Whittell, H. M. & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1-126.

[ZJM03] Zeffer, A., L. C. Johansson & Å. Marmebro. 2003. Functional correlation between habitat use and leg morphology in birds (Aves). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 79: 461-484.

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