Definition of jacana in English:


(also jaçana)


  • A small tropical wading bird with greatly elongated toes and claws that enable it to walk on floating vegetation.

    Also called lily-trotter
    • ‘Large wading and diving birds seemed to be everywhere: great white egrets, great blue herons, green herons, tricolored herons, roseate spoonbills, anhingas, cormorants, and jacanas.’
    • ‘When we came around the other side of the pond, someone spotted a jacana walking across the lily pads.’
    • ‘The river was ~ 0.9 km wide at that location, and it supported mats of floating aquatic vegetation on which hundreds of jacanas resided.’
    • ‘Last weekend about 25 people walked around Lismore Lake to celebrate Council's decision to leave the lake as a bird habitat, and it was a great pleasure to see four black swans again joining the jacanas and other bird life on the lake.’
    • ‘For decades, taxonomists couldn't agree whether to classify jacanas with rails or shorebirds; genetic studies now appear to confirm the latter.’


Mid 18th century: from Portuguese jaçanã, from Tupi-Guarani jasanã.