The Comb-crested Jacana

The Comb-crested Jacana, aka Lotus Bird (Irediparra gallinacea) walks with ease on single floating lily pads thanks to a delicate build and the longest toes on the wetland billabongs. The bird in the top photo is a mature adult with a striking-red comb while below is a younger bird, out of its immature plumage, but still a young adult, with a smaller, paler comb. The bird below is in an artificial lake in the mining town of Jabiru. The lake has been infiltrated by a smallish (1.2m) saltwater crocodile from the neighbouring Kakadu National Park. I watched the Jacana moving bravely (or foolishly) around near the crocodile for quite a while but it seems the crocodile had drawn the conclusion that the bird was keeping one eye open for it and was ready to fly swiftly away from danger. The Jacana usually lays 4 eggs and incubates these in a nest of floating vegetation.

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