Comb-crested Jacana staring into the water

While lock-down continues into another week for us, and prospects to go more than 5 km from home are currently banned, we have had to curtail our birding pursuits for the time being. So this week we focus an extraordinary small bird the Comb-crested Jacana, which is also known as the Jesus Bird because it appears to walk on water. In actual fact its long spindly legs and toes walk across water lilies, on wetland swamps of Queensland, Northern Territory and the far north coast of NSW.

Jacana moving across lily pads

This bird is featured in my book “What Birds Teach Us” because of the amazing ability the parent Jacana has to carry all of its nestlings across the water-lily pads to safety during the rising waters of the wet season. The bird illustrates to us the need to rise above the difficulties of life and to convert what may seem to be a worrying problem into a fresh opportunity or challenge, which will always bring new insights and growth to ones life.

The famous photo of Sally Corte’s, which she graciously lent, is also in the this second edition of my book, where she has actually captured the Jacana father carrying its babies to safety. Look for the tiny legs dangling from under his wings.

Father Jacana carrying his babies to safety. © Sally Corte

Jacana seldom ever come to shore, spending its entire life walking on lily pads, even building its nest in the open on the lily pads. It feeds on aquatic insects, aquatic plants and seeds. Here is a small family, notice the dull undeveloped combs on the the immature birds, while the parent’s comb shines bright red in the sunlight.

Jacana family grazing on the lily pads in the wetlands of Far North Queensland

Here are some more photos of immature Jacana at different stages of maturity.

This mature Jacana was found in the Cattana Wetlands just north of Cairns where the Cairns council have created a wetlands using the recycled water waste. The Jacana live alongside the Green Pygmy-goose (seen below), another unusual bird found in this far north tropical region.

The Jacana seldom flies long distances, usually only enough to jump from one lily pad to another, or is escaping floods, raptors or other threatening predators.

This next image is an all time favorite of mine, as it highlights the smallness of the bird against a flowering water-lily stem. From a distance this bird did actually appear to be walking on water as many of the pads were slightly submerged.

Here are two immature Jacana busily grazing note their continuous head and tail actions

Immature Jacana grazing

So when they rest or sleep they typically stand on one leg to relieve the other leg, since most spend their lives on their legs, never sitting. They also sleep standing on the lily pad out on the river or wetland swamp.

Jacana resting on one leg

On the home front this week, the two young Crested Pigeons are now going out on long day excursions with parents and only return to roost at night. The effective large local Noisy Miner coalition have been busy in the past few days, as our local Kookaburras have made several attempts a day to reenter our area, especially around our place. I am wondering if it is their interest in the young pigeons, but I think not now, they seem to also want access to my birdbaths. I do miss the sound of the Kooka’s bringing in the morning with their chorus. They sometimes very rarely will call outside our bedroom window before the Miners are up or out of range, before they are mobbed. Here is some footage of mobbing that occurred today.

Miner coalition mobbing a Kookaburra, trying to enter our area.

Enjoy your week and stay safe. Our hearts go out to our US friends having to deal with heatwaves and wildfires and smoke, similar to what we endured earlier in the year. Also to all of us in lock-down, which is being prolonged by stupid people who refuse to obey the law to do what is needed to curb this latest outbreak, stay safe.

You will notice on this my website anniversary, that I have finally given into the WordPress Block Editor, though I have found several significant flaws in it which I have reported. Though I have had to continue to do some functions in Classic. I have adopted a Premium theme and spent this week painfully adjusting the Classic features to Block where it is frustrating possible. My landing page (home Page) is completely different and many of my pages have undergone some level of change. I hope it is to your liking.

New look Home Page

I now also have the facility for people to purchase more than one book in one transaction at my online store. I would be grateful if those who have purchased books would write a review in the comments section on the Birdbook page, as the new page lacks the many previous comments.

Panic and anxiety freeze us up, so that associated stress and adrenaline overload cloud our rational thinking process. Worry accompanied by an ineffective response causing a negative reaction instead of positive action to remedy the situation, can mean the difference between life and death. Time is critical as it is when a building or forest is on fire, or for the Jacana, when rivers are rising. Clear thinking action is needed, not panic, as this is when many make poor decisions, and make a bad situation worse, as depicted in many of the old silent comedy movies. The Comb-crested Jacana decisively, calmly and wisely carries its young under its wings to safety, before disaster struck. Do nothing out of fear, for irrational subjective fear is our worse enemy. Act only out of objective faith, weighing up the facts and responding in love. See each circumstance as a challenge to grow in character and an opportunity to shine.

“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.
 Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!
” – Psalm 46:1-3

“Call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” – Psalm 50:15

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‘To introduce people to our unique Australian birds,

To learn from them how to live a healthy and happy life.’

NOTE: All photos, videos and music used on this website are photographed, composed, performed  by the site owner and remains his copyrighted property, unless otherwise stated. The use of any material that is not original material of the site owner is duly acknowledged as such. © W. A. Hewson 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021.


  1. Hello Ash,
    I am starting to catch up on your lovely bird blog articles. I am so happy to see a “feature presentation” on this stunning bird. And I am happy to recognize images from the second edition of your first bird book.

    It remains a stressful time for so many people, and reading this after a long/stressful day raised my spirits.

    “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
    So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.
    Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!” – Psalm 46:1-3

    “Call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” – Psalm 50:15

    These verses are wonderful. Thank you.
    We hope you and your wife are having a blessed start to the week, and I hope to update in more detail soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Takami, I am delighted you enjoyed my showcase of our Nasho Park and that it lifted your spirits after a long busy day. I will be releasing the final part within the next hour, as we are still confined to a 5 km radius from home. This is gradually becomes wearing on you though writing my 3rd book helps. Thanks for reciprocating those verses, they were a delightful unexpected encouragement to me today, dear sister. It is a blessing how the Lord encourages us, and how he knows how and when to rally his children to the cause. We had a lovely Father’s Day weekend together. A Zoom Trivia night with my family being organised by my grandson Jesse followed by a walk on Sunday to one of our waterside parks where we bought a coffee for the first time in 2 months and at lunch time 2 bottles of wine arrived by courier followed by a a special lunch delivered from my favorite local Thai restaurant as a surprise from my son David. I feel so blessed to have such loving children and grandchldren.
      I hope and pray earnestly that this week will be a better one, and that you will start to see the way ahead for you both. Richest blessings 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Deborah, Sad that the smoke has reached you and caused so much discomfort Deborah, they must be terrifying fires. I hope our Aussie water bomber is doing a great job helping over there.This is what we went through for several months at the end of last year and early this year, but thankfully we were not in the fire zones. So glad you are well and safe. We continue as our lock-downs are made more severe and people continue to rebelliously break the rules and spread the virus, with numbers worsening by the hour. There are still people out there that think it is a hoax, even when the evidence is before their eyes. Those who have proudly espoused their rights and how they will not be vaccinated soon change their tune when the virus is at their door or killing their family and friends. Praying you stay safe my friend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Donna, yes you would think this bird was walking on water which would be a miracle, and more a miracle with feet like it has, for it would sink like a stone having no webbing between its toes. Hope you are safe from the sires and smoke many are experiencing over there. We continue in lock-down as they measures get harsher and people continue to flagrantly flout the rules and spread the virus everywhere. Not good for birding, but good for writing. Have a blessed week my friend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Ashley, I have never seen one of these birds before, so thank you for an interesting post with lovely photos, and I especially loved Sally’s photo of all the little feet dangling under the wing of their parent. I heartily agree with your frustrations about the new WordPress editor, I’m getting used to it, but I don’t find it very user friendly and it causes quite a bit of annoyance in the layout at times when I’m drafting a post. Your new look blog is great too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sue, yes these are quite unique little birds and easily missed when one surveys the lily pads. Funny enough just an hour after I loaded Sally’s photo into Media on here she sent me a letter and purchased more books, Thankfully I have finally worked out how to get around many of the problems with the Block Editor, but there remain inadequacies they can not fix, which they have not considered when building it. I use both Classic and Block but with some problems. It took hours of frustration to realize that the two do not work well, changing from one to the other, but with some success now that I have worked out ways to trick it to retain the features not now available with block. My biggest gripe with them was that you now have to install plug ins to get back some of the classic features removed by Block. With Premium, they will not allow you to add plugins unless you buy their more expensive Business model. I am glad I finally installed a Premium theme it looks much better. One positive word about Block is it has a facility to very easily add a PayPal payment block which has been formed by WordPress, which is impressive, and I no longer have to play with code to set up buttons.
      Enjoy your weekend my friend, we are getting tired of being home now for over two months, and missing a holiday for most of the year.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Lisa Beth, Yes the WordPress changes have been particularly frustrating and unfair to many of us mature aged users, and I have had some deep and meaningful chats with some of their young engineers, and hoping for some improvements in their communication to their changes. So glad Starry enjoys the Miners mobbing calls, he would have his work cut out for him here as these birds will attack cats and dogs if the call goes out. The poor Kookaburra had about a dozen birds attacking it at first. I just now heard the Kookaburra calling in the distance, so it is still trying to come into our area. The Jacana are a bird many never see because they are always out on the river or swamp on the lily pads, they are also small and blend in but for their red comb. Enjoy your week sister, and stay safe.


  4. Thank you for the wonderful Jacana post! They deserve such attention. What distinctions our Creator made – a million for us to look in awe!
    It seems that their feet are like the snow shoes worn in the artic, like tennis rackets that walk atop the snow. Starry especially ‘loved’ the Miner calls! I actually think he’s becoming more of a pidgeon watcher than chaser! 😃
    And brother, I was very frustrated with the WordPress block changes, I tried every way to get around it and engaged the company to no avail. No matter – your post still enriches and edifies and so I will not be anxious!
    May the Lord shut in with you and your Aussie neighbors, may He speak to your hearts and encourage all.


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