Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Charadriiformes Jacanidae

Scientific Name: Actophilornis africanus
Species Authority: (Gmelin, 1789)
Common Name(s):
English African Jacana
French Jacana à poitrine dorée
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.
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 appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not 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.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2009 Least Concern (LC)
2008 Least Concern (LC)
2004 Least Concern (LC)
2000 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1994 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Countries occurrence:
Angola (Angola); Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Equatorial Guinea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 17000000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is estimated to number 1,000,000 individuals.

Trend Justification:  The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Behaviour This species is nomadic in relation to changing water levels with some individuals travelling as far as several kilometres between suitable habitats (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species may breed in any month of the year in permanent wetlands but only during the wet season in seasonally flooded areas (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It has a polyandrous mating system, with males holding nesting, breeding, foraging and chick-rearing territories while females mate with several adjacent males (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species forages singly, in pairs or in dispersed family groups (Urban et al. 1986) and may occasionally gather in small, loose flocks (Hayman et al. 1986). Habitat The species inhabits permanent or seasonally flooded shallow freshwater wetlands, requiring floating vegetation (especially water-lilies) for nesting on, as well as tall emergent vegetation near the shore for cover (del Hoyo et al. 1996, del Hoyo et al. 1996) and stagnant marshes with open water, flooded grassland, waterways choked with vegetation (e.g. water-lettuce Pistia spp., water-hyacinth Eichhornia spp., water-fern Salvinia spp. or water-weed Elodea spp.), small lakes, dams (Urban et al. 1986), ponds (Hayman et al. 1986) and the sheltered shores, inlets (Urban et al. 1986) and backwaters of broad slow-flowing rivers (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species also forages amongst waterside plants or on dry land along the edge of water (Hayman et al. 1986). Diet Its diet consists predominantly of insects (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (e.g. dragonfly nymphs, bees) (Urban et al. 1986) and worms, as well as spiders, crustaceans, molluscs and occasionally seeds (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is usually a simple, partly submerged pad of aquatic vegetation, although on deeper water nests are often placed on small floating rafts of vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Management information There is evidence that the species is able to switch to nesting on less stable mats of floating aquatic plants (such as the exotic water-fern Salvinia spp.) if water-lilies are destroyed by invasive coypu Myocastor coypus in wetlands (del Hoyo et al. 1996).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 4.8
Movement patterns: Nomadic
Congregatory: Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is locally threatened by wetland degradation and loss through flooding (as a result of hydroelectric projects), drainage and overgrazing (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Actophilornis africanus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22693528A38794264. . Downloaded on 04 October 2015.
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