Pheasant-tailed Jacana in breeding plumage

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The breeding season of this bird is long-drawn and extends from January up to June. The breeding period is now quite long and extended and is quite longer in duration than has been given in literature. Some individuals can be seen in the breeding plumage even in December indicating a further extension. In this bird, the females only engage in laying the eggs, leaving all other tasks in the hands of the males. Males maintain territories which are defended by loud protest calls and the defenders rushing at intruders but have never seen an attack although there are references that the wing spur is used to attack others, but this too has never been observed by me. The nest is a loose collection of vegetation and will sometimes lay eggs on a floating water lily pad without making any nest. Four eggs are laid which are greenish-brown (olive brown) or dark brown in colour with a glossy surface. The male alone incubates the eggs and the eggs will take up to three weeks to hatch.

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Jagath Gunawardana Attorney-at-law

 

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