Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Bronze-winged jacana

Thai: นกพริก, nok prik

Binomial name: Metopidius indicus, John Aubrey Clarendon Latham, 1790

The bronze-winged jacana (Metopidius indicus) is a jacana. It is the only member of the genus Metopidius. The jacanas are a group of waders in the family Charadriidae, which are identifiable by their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation in the shallow lakes that are their preferred habitat. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone. For the origin and pronunciation of the name, see Jacana.

The bronze-winged jacana breeds in India and southeast Asia. It is sedentary apart from seasonal dispersion. It lays four black-marked brown eggs in a floating nest. The males, as in some other wader families like the phalaropes, take responsibility for incubation.

These are conspicuous and unmistakable birds. They are 29 cm long, but the females are larger than the males. They are mainly black, although the inner wings are very dark brown and the tail is red. There is a striking white eyestripe. The yellow bill extends up as a red coot-like frontal shield, and the legs and very long toes are grey.

Young birds have brown upperparts. Their underparts are white, with a buff foreneck.

The bronze-winged jacana's feeds on insects and other invertebrates picked from the floating vegetation or the water's surface.

Call is a wheezy piping seek-seek-seek given mostly in alarm.

When forced they sometimes choose to hide by submerging themselves. The male may carry chicks between the wings and body.

Measurements (from Rasmussen and Anderton, 2005)

Length 280–310 mm

Wing 150–197 mm (males 150-180mm, females 167–187 mm)

Bill from tip to top of frontal shield 34–46 mm (adults) 32-38 (juveniles)

Tarsus 61–76 mm

Tail 40–52 mm

Mating System

Bronze-winged jacanas have a territorial, sex-role reversed system. They are polyandrous, and the females are larger and more brightly colored than their male counterparts. The females compete with each other for harems of males to incubate their clutches of eggs. Each female’s territory encompasses one to four males and their individual territories. The density of breeding territories can be limited by habitat availability and the territorial competition with other females and their harems. Although there is no clear evidence for a relationship between male territory size and the distribution of available resources, heavier males have been shown to defend their territories from other males. The overall distribution of territories appears to be small areas controlled by individual males, with the harems of females encompassing one or more of the male territories. Even though the territory size of females is positively correlated with the size of their harems, it does not seem to be related to the overall quality of the habitat. Females could attempt to maximize harem size by including as many male territories as they can, while males in larger harems would have to defend smaller territories. As a result, the degree of polyandry of the Bronze-winged jacana is dependent on the territory sizes of males and females.

The breeding system of the bronze-winged jacana leads to intense sperm competition, as female jacanas copulate with multiple males prior to laying their clutch. Before laying the clutch, the female would spend more time with the specific male that would receive the clutch (called the “receiver”). Studies have also shown that receivers gain more copulations than non-receivers. Since the receivers provide all of the parental care, females should, in theory, comply with male demands for copulations to convince them of their paternity, so they will care for the clutch. Receivers have been observed to destroy clutches in which they only had a low share of the paternity. Although females offer copulations to non-receiver males in order to maintain their presence in her harem, these copulations are less important than copulations to assure the receivers of their paternity. The cost of clutches being destroyed by receivers is much higher than losing males from her harem.

Since the males have no individual control over the maximum number of their copulations, the males in polyandrous harems vie for the female’s attention through a call, called a “yell, ” to attract her and gain sexual access. It has been shown that male jacanas in larger harems yelled at higher rates during the periods of time when all copulations took place, while males that already received their clutch or were involved in chick care yelled at lower and rates. These yells attracted the female bronze-winged Jacana when she is far from the yeller. A study showed that females seem to use yells to assess male quality, as the males that yelled at the highest rates were able to receive the greatest number of copulations. Females may also respond to the yells of males in their territory since they could attract other females who could intrude on their territory.

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Charadriiformes
Family
Jacanidae
Genus
Metopidius
Species
Metopidius indicus

Common names

  • Thai: นกพริก, nok prik

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Bronze-winged jacana, Metopidius indicus in Thailand
  • Amphawa District, Samut Songkhram
  • Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Phai District, Khon Kaen
  • Ban Phraek District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Ban Sang District, Prachinburi
  • Bang Ban District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Bang Len District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Bang Pa In District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Bang Pahan District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Bang Phra Non-hunting Area
  • Bang Pu Recreation Centre
  • Bangkok Province
  • Borabue District, Maha Sarakham
  • Bueng Boraped Non-hunting Area
  • Bueng Khong Long Non-hunting Area
  • Chaiyo District, Ang Thong
  • Chatturat District, Chaiyaphum
  • Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai
  • Doi Inthanon National Park
  • Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park
  • Hat Yai District, Songkhla
  • Huai Chorakhe Mak Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Huai Talat Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • In Buri District, Sing Buri
  • Kabin Buri District, Prachinburi
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Kamphaeng Saen District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Kanthararom District, Sisaket
  • Kantharawichai District, Maha Sarakham
  • Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Kradong Forest Park
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
  • Khao Sok National Park
  • Khao Yai National Park
  • Khao Yoi District, Phetchaburi
  • Khlong Luang District, Pathum Thani
  • Khuan Khanun District, Phatthalung
  • Kumphawapi District, Udon Thani
  • Kut Thing Non-hunting Area
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Mueang Buriram District, Buriram
  • Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mueang Kalasin District, Kalasin
  • Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi
  • Mueang Khon Kaen District, Khon Kaen
  • Mueang Krabi District, Krabi
  • Mueang Lopburi District, Lopburi
  • Mueang Maha Sarakham District, Maha Sarakham
  • Mueang Nakhon Nayok District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Mueang Nakhon Sawan District, Nakhon Sawan
  • Mueang Nakhon Si Thammarat District, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Mueang Nonthaburi District, Nonthaburi
  • Mueang Pathum Thani District, Pathum Thani
  • Mueang Phetchaburi District, Phetchaburi
  • Mueang Phichit District, Phichit
  • Mueang Ratchaburi District, Ratchaburi
  • Mueang Samut Sakhon District, Samut Sakhon
  • Mueang Samut Songkhram District, Samut Songkhram
  • Mueang Sukhothai District, Sukhothai
  • Mueang Suphanburi District, Suphan Buri
  • Mueang Tak District, Tak
  • Mueang Uttaradit District, Uttaradit
  • Nong Bong Khai Non-hunting Area
  • Nong Song Hong District, Khon Kaen
  • Nong Ya Plong District, Phetchaburi
  • Nong Yai Area Development Project Under Royal Init
  • Pa Sak Chonlasit Dam Non-hunting Area
  • Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Pak Kret District, Nonthaburi
  • Pak Phli District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Pak Thale
  • Pak Tho District, Ratchaburi
  • Pak Thong Chai District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Phatthana Nikhom District, Lopburi
  • Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Phutthamonthon District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Sai Noi District, Nonthaburi
  • Samut Prakan Province
  • Sanam Bin Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Sathing Phra District, Songkhla
  • Si Racha District, Chonburi
  • Song Phi Nong District, Suphan Buri
  • Tha Sala District, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Tha Takiap District, Chachoengsao
  • Tha Yang District, Phetchaburi
  • Thale Ban National Park
  • Thale Noi Non-hunting Area
  • Than Sadet - Koh Pha-Ngan National Park
  • Thanyaburi District, Pathum Thani
  • Wang Nam Yen District, Sa Kaeo
  • Wang Noi District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Wat Phai Lom & Wat Ampu Wararam Non-hunting Area

Range map of Metopidius indicus in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

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