Scientific Name:

Jacana spinosa

(Linnaeus 1758 ‘Fulica spinosa’)
Jacana – Portuguese Jaçanã derived from Tupi language of Brazilian indigenous tribes y-acã-nã (soft c) meaning ‘that which has a loud voice’.
spinosa – Latin; spinosus thorny (spina thorn).

Northern Jacana


Northern Jacana Fact File

Distribution: Mexico to western Panama and the Caribbean

Conservation Status: Least Concern


J. s. gymnostoma (Wagler 1831) Greek gumnos bare, naked; stoma mouth – Mexico from South Central Sinaloa and Central Tamaulipas, south to Chiapas, Yacutan and Cozumel Island. Rarely south-east Texas.
J. s. spinosa (Linnaeus 1758) Latin; spinosus thorny (spina thorn) – Belize and Guatemala south to western Panama.
J. s. violacea (Cory 1881) Latin violaceus violet-coloured, violaceous (viola violet) – Cuba, Isle of Pines, Jamaica and Hispaniola.

Further Reading:  Northern Jacana in Texas. / The World’s Wattled Waders

Current conservation efforts





With thanks to the following photographers:

Juan Zamora; Rudy Garns; Juan Jose Montero Rodriguez; Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren;

Where stated, images are subject to CC license