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Lesser Jacana Microparra capensis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Trend justification
The population trend is difficult to determine because of uncertainty over the impacts of habitat modification on population sizes.

Behaviour The migratory movements of this species are very little known (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It is a sedentary resident of permanent wetlands throughout its range (del Hoyo et al. 1996) although some populations appear to be nomadic, appearing at ephemeral wetlands (Hockey et al. 2005) and seasonally flooded pans even after years of absence during drought (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species breeds in territorial solitary pairs (Urban et al. 1986), the timing of breeding varying geographically in response to wet seasons and the availability of suitable habitat (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Outside of the breeding season the species can be observed singly or in loose groups of up to 20 individuals (Hockey et al. 2005). Habitat The species shows a preference for shallow water around the edges of permanent and seasonally flooded wetlands, with areas of sparse sedge (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (Rhynchosporia, Eliocharis, Cyperus and Juncus spp.) (Hockey et al. 2005), aquatic grasses (Leersia and Hemarthria spp.) (Hockey et al. 2005) and stands of floating vegetation such as water-lilies(Nymphaea and Nymphoides spp.) (Hockey et al. 2005). It inhabits lake and dam backwaters (Hockey et al. 2005), river flood-plains (e.g. Okavango Delta) (del Hoyo et al. 1996), swampy river edges, pans, coastal lagoons (Natal, South Africa) (Urban et al. 1986), grassy swamps (Hayman et al. 1986) and sometimes small ponds (Urban et al. 1986), although it generally avoids shorelines with firm substrates (Urban et al. 1986). Diet The diet of this species consists predominantly of insects, although it may take small pieces of aquatic vegetation (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) and seeds (Hayman et al. 1986). Breeding site The nest is a small floating platform of aquatic vegetation positioned on shallow water (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996).

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Delany, S.; Scott, D. 2006. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Hayman, P.; Marchant, J.; Prater, A. J. 1986. Shorebirds. Croom Helm, London.

Hockey, P. A. R.; Dean, W. R. J.; Ryan, P. G. 2005. Roberts birds of southern Africa. Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town, South Africa.

Urban, E. K.; Fry, C. H.; Keith, S. 1986. The birds of Africa vol. II. Academic Press, London.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Microparra capensis. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Jacanidae (Jacanas)
Species name author (Smith, 1839)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Unknown
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 3,240,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change