African Jacana.. Grootlangtoon [Afrikaans]

African Jacana (Actophilornis africanus).

Now for a bird with such long toes, I do love the Afrikaans name of “Grootlangtoon” or roughly translated “Big long toe”, this describes the bird beautifully.

They are waders, identified by long toes and long claws that enable them to walk on floating vegetation in shallow lakes, their preferred habitat. They breed on floating nests with such beautiful coloured eggs, when I collected eggs I remember taking the chance with crocodiles and wading into a dam to get myself an egg.. I must admit it was with a certain amount of trepidation as I was in the nude and could picture the crocodile sizing me up as a meal… deciding where to bite first… oooohh I cross my legs even now at the thought of it…

The female breeds with a number of males ( It is a polyandrous species) and believe it or not, it is the male that raises the chicks… he has the ability to pick the chicks up under his wings and hide them as he feeds and jumps about on the water lilies… which is their main feeding area, where they feed on insects and other invertebrates picked from the floating vegetation or the surface of the water.

The eggs are preyed upon by many of it’s enemies so the female will breed several times a year… they have no specific time of the year to breed, and as the poor “henpecked” male has to raise the chicks, she can fly around and take on another man… is this not a bit slutty.???

Their call is a strange one and can be heard at the following site.. click here … and now for a photo or two…


Thur 21-07-2011 129

Thur 21-07-2011 118


Thur 21-07-2011 114

50 thoughts on “African Jacana.. Grootlangtoon [Afrikaans]

  1. This post gets my vote for funniest captions! LOL too good!
    The Grootlangtoon looks very paleolithic…but only on the lower half! In your “sinking feeling” photo you’d think it was your average ptarmigan.
    And thanks for the new word, “polyandrous.” The next time I’m tempted to label someone a ‘ho I’ll say, “she’s quite a polyandrous sort” instead!

  2. “Why is it so difficult to pass wind these days?” – I almost dropped my beer from laughing so hard! You are too funny, Bulldog!

    • It is an amazing bird and I hope one day to capture the father with the young ones feet sticking out from under his wings… it looks so comical and he gathers them up so quick when he feels there is danger about…

  3. Ha le dita delle zampe lunghissime, incredibile. Però è un uccello stupendo, molto elegante, è come se avesse una mascherina intorno agli occhi che lo rende ancora più affascinante. Bellissime foto 🙂
    Ciao, Pat

  4. Bulldog, I have really come to look forward to your blog. It’s like taking a course in birds and other wildlife without the nasty exams!! You have such an amazing variety of birds in South Africa :). You are so lucky!!

    • Oh that we have… 900 odd different specie and I have still so far to go to capture them all on camera… but we do live in a small piece of paradise when it comes to the birds…

  5. A real comedian you are becoming with these captions bd!!!! 🙂 Oh yes – these toes are noteworthy indeed. Another really interesting feathered friend from your land. Fantastic images once again — you never cease to amaze your readers ! x R

    • Thank you Robyn… I’m really beginning to enjoy this more and more… and we do have such a wide and diverse birding in this Country… having now over 25 000 photos of birds it’s getting to the stage I need to do a bit of filing, and trying to put specie by specie… but thanks for your unending support, so nice to have regular comments of this nature… and I do love your blog.. maybe I must send you a photo and let you put words to it… xx

    • The more I photograph the more I find the males are doing the raising of the young… an interesting fact, in some cases the female sits and hatches and then say to the male..”All yours Buddy”… I wonder what would be the survival rate in humans if that was the case.??

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