The Water-Dropping Call of the African Jacana

The Water-Dropping Call of the African Jacana

Meet the African Jacana

The African Jacana, also known as the Lily-trotter, is a striking bird that is found in sub-Saharan Africa. It is a wading bird that walks on floating vegetation, and its long toes and claws allow it to distribute its weight over a larger surface area, making it easier for it to navigate through the swampy regions where it lives. It is a small bird, measuring around 25 cm in length, with a distinctive chestnut-colored body, long legs, and a long and pointed bill.

The Significance of the Water-Dropping Call

One of the most fascinating aspects of the African Jacana is its unique water-dropping call. This call is made by the male of the species, and it is used to communicate with both his mate and the other males in the area. The call sounds like a series of drops of water hitting the surface of a pond, and it is surprisingly loud, considering the size of the bird. The call is so distinctive that it is often used to identify the African Jacana in the wild.

How the African Jacana Makes the Call

The water-dropping call of the African Jacana is made by the male bird using his wings. The bird flaps its wings rapidly, causing droplets of water to be shaken off its feathers and to hit the surface of the water below. The sound of these droplets hitting the water creates the distinctive sound of the water-dropping call. The speed at which the bird flaps its wings determines the frequency of the call, and different frequencies are used to communicate different messages.

What the Water-Dropping Call Communicates

The water-dropping call of the African Jacana is used to communicate a variety of messages to other birds in the area. The call is primarily used by males to attract a mate, and it is often heard during breeding season. The call can also be used to warn other males to stay away from the territory of the calling bird. The frequency of the call can also indicate the level of aggression of the calling bird, with higher frequencies indicating a more aggressive bird.

Other Vocalizations of the African Jacana

While the water-dropping call is the most distinctive vocalization of the African Jacana, it is not the only vocalization that the bird makes. The bird also makes a variety of other calls, including a series of screeches and chatters. These calls are used to communicate with other birds in the area, and they are often heard during feeding and nesting activities.

The Fascinating World of Avian Communication

The African Jacana is just one example of the fascinating world of avian communication. Birds have evolved a wide range of vocalizations to communicate with each other, from the haunting calls of the loon to the melodic songs of the nightingale. These vocalizations are used to attract mates, warn off predators, and establish territories, among other things.

In conclusion, the water-dropping call of the African Jacana is a unique and fascinating aspect of this bird’s behavior. It is a complex and nuanced form of communication that allows the bird to communicate with both its mate and other males in the area. By understanding the significance of this call, bird watchers can gain a deeper appreciation for the behavior and communication patterns of this remarkable bird.

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