aba events
Nikon Monarch 7

#ABArare – Northern Jacana – Texas

facebooktwitter

Perhaps promising some exciting birding for the upcoming Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, an immature Northern Jacana (ABA Code 4) was photographed on November 3 by Aaron and Karen Marshall at Pintail Lake 5 at Santa Ana NWR in Hidalgo, Texas.

Hopefully, we’ll have some photos of the bird as they become available.

From the Santa Ana NWR parking lot, take the paved looped road on foot into the refuge. Where the parking area by the Tree Tower is on the right, turn left onto a gravel road. Follow this road (also known as the Pintail Lakes Cutoff) to the Pintail Lakes, connecting with the Pintail Lakes Trail. The bird was in the pond on the right or south side of the road in heavy vegetation and limited water.
Here’s a link to a map of the refuge. The gravel road is labelled as service road on here, but it is a valid trail.

Northern Jacana became established in Brazoria County, Texas in 1967–1978.  That population, although no longer present, had as many as
40 individuals.

In a previous post on the defunct PEEPS blog, Bill Maynard writes that there are eight jacana species recognized worldwide, two in the New
World, and with fossil evidence of an extinct jacana from Florida.  One remarkable feature of all jacanas is their extraordinarily long toes and toenails, allowing them to evenly distribute their weight as they seem to magically walk on floating aquatic vegetation.  They also have a sharp metacarpal spur on their wings that is used in confrontations with other jacanas.  What is not universally recognized is the correct pronunciation of jacana.  In India, the bird is pronounced “jakana“.  However, the first jacana species to be described to science, Wattled Jacana, was probably named from Portuguese as Jaçanã, an interpretation from Portuguese of a Tupi-Guarani word for the bird.  Tupi and Guarani are the two official languages of Paraguay’s Guarana region where the first specimen of a jacana, Jacana jacana was collected.  In that South American region, it is locally called JAH-sah-NAH where the “j” is pronounced “Zh” and the “c” is soft.  However, the family name Jacanidae, is pronounced ja-CAN-i-dae.

Another thought on the origin of the word jacana follows. Two Jesuit priests founded the city of São Paulo, Brazil and in 1554 transcribed
Tupi words into the Portuguese alphabet (which includes ç) and wrote a dictionary and a grammar.  These formed the basis for proper names of
Tupi origin in Portuguese. Jaçanã most likely is a word used by the Tupi groups that lived along the Southeast Brazilian coast, although the word would probably be recognized by many of the Amazonian indigenous groups.  In fact, in the 19th century, a simplified form of Tupi was used as lingua geral (a language of general use) in most of the Brazilian hinterland. (Wikipedia)

In current Brazilian Portuguese, Jaçanã is pronounced ja-sa-nan with “ja” as “sa” and “nan” as most would pronounce it in English.

Most recently, a body of the America Ornithological Union, the South American Checklist Committee (SACC), posted on their website “We do not use a cedilla in “jacana” (or “aracari”) because the Oxford English Dictionary treats these as English words without a cedilla.”  While this doesn’t entirely answer the question, how to pronounce jacana, it hopefully shows why there are so many interpretations.

 

The following two tabs change content below.
Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog. A long-time member of the bird blogosphere, Nate has been writing about birds and birding at The Drinking Bird since 2007, but can also be found writing regularly at 10,000 Birds. In the non-digital world, he's an environmental educator and interpretive naturalist. Nate lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children, who are not yet aware that they are being groomed to be birders.
Birders know well that the healthiest, most dynamic choruses contain many different voices. The birding community encompasses a wide variety of interests, talents, and convictions. All are welcome.
If you like birding, we want to hear from you.
Read More »

Recent Comments

Categories

Authors

Archives

via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • The Warbler Guide App Review June 11, 2015 3:46
    The Warbler Guide, published last year, was an incredible work of writing on the identification of North American wood-warblers. One of its stand-out features was how well integrated it was with online and digital content. Consequently, I was not terribly surprised when it was announced that they were going to be developing an app. […]
  • Meet Dessi Sieburth, 2015 ABA Young Birder of the Year May 17, 2015 12:00
    Learn more about Dessi Sieburth, the 12-year-old 2015 Young Birder of the Year! […]
  • Wildlife Ecology Research April 22, 2015 11:35
    Rensselaerville Falls, Huyck Preserve and Biological Research Station. July 13, 2014. What: Wildlife Ecology Research Program for high school students entering their Junior or Senior Year. Where: Huyck Preserve and Biological Research Station 5052 Delaware Turnpike Rensselaerville, NY 12147 When: Late applications due May 1 by 5 PM, EDT. Session I—July 5-26 Session II—August […]

Follow ABA on Twitter