This Comb-crested Jacana (Irediparra gallinacea), also known as Jesus bird and Christbird, was photographed in Australia by Jimmy Tan a.k.a. skylark in August 2009.
This Australian jacana is found around shallow freshwater wetlands. Like other jacanas, it has typically elongated toes and claws that help spread its weight when moving across floating vegetation, like the large leaves of waterlilies. This in turn gives the impression that they walk on water, especially when the vegetation is submerged, Such behaviour gives rise to the popular names of Jesus bird and Christbird.
The bird is easily recognised by its prominent red comb that change to pale yellow when the bird is frightened. It flies weakly, the long legs trailing as if injured. Unlike most other birds that use the tail as a rudder, the jacana uses the trailing legs to steer.
Goodfellow, D. L. & M. Scott, 2005. Birds of Australia’s top end. Reed New Holland, Sydney. 159 pp.
This post is a cooperative effort between NaturePixels.org and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.