Some of you may have read a few weeks back about the excitement around Camp Dam, the Africana Jacana nest. We have some good news. The eggs have hatched!
For exactly 24 days since the third egg was laid, tracker Rich and I would check in every day to see if the eggs were still there. And as the 24th day approached we almost held our breath every time we drove past the nest to see if any of the chicks had hatched.
The timing of their hatching could honestly not have been any more perfect for Richard, our guests and myself. The morning of the 24th day we drove past and there were still 4 eggs, still keeping my hopes up that they would hatch, I turned to my guests, who were just as excited about the nest as Rich and I, and said “today must be the day”. It was that afternoon that they hatched. And we were there to see it.
Here are a few photos of the new little chicks.
Two of the chicks had hatched and stumbled around right next to the other two eggs still to hatch. Of course, that afternoon on our way out we had to stop and see if anything further had changed. Still nothing. Two chicks and two unhatched eggs.
On our way out the next morning, there were still two eggs remaining. The male was nearby and the two hatchlings, a little more confident on their feet lurking near the eggs. Intrigued as to when the next egg may hatch we decided to continue on with our game drive and see if anything had changed by the time we were on our way back into camp. By that stage, the male had now knelt down next to the eggs and had spread his wings slightly to shelter the eggs.
Around midday, I went back to check up on the nest and was pleased to see that the third chick had hatched. Maybe the father could sense that the egg was about to hatch hence why he was sheltering it to keep it cool while the little one worked away to crack it open from the inside.
Later that afternoon I went back and spent a little while watching the new little family, although a bit tricky I managed to get a few photos of them.
I didn’t get to witness the fourth egg hatching and I am unaware of its fate. Sadly, I think it did not make it. With these tiny chicks now out in the open, life is rather challenging for them. They are now forced to feed without parental assistance from the moment they hatch, although the male will always be close by. Along with the male, they will need to keep a lookout for danger, and although they don’t quite know what shape and form danger comes in, their only real means of escaping danger is to dive into crocodile-infested waters, hide in the thick aquatic vegetation, or hide under the wings of the male and be carried away to safety.
For the first 18 days of their new lives, they will often be carried under the wings of the male. The male will crouch down with his wings held partially open and then pick the chicks up. This was something that I was dying to see.
Stay tuned for the next update on the Jacana Nest…
Filed under Birds General Nature Life Photo Journal Wildlife
Thanks for this lovely article on the tiny Jacanas. I hope they will survive the first and most challenging stage of their lives after they have hatched. So cute, these tiny birds. Nature is really amazing.
An amazing entry into the world. The precision of the timing is so fascinating.
Female has no role?
Simple question or observation. In the title and first picture, there are 2 chicks and clearly 3 eggs for a total of 5. The entire discussions revolves around 4 eggs total.
Thank you so much for the update, Tayla. It certainly was a wonderful constant of most of our 17 day stay in Tree Camp to check in on the nest. ~ from the ladies in room 1
When I studied the sexual behaviour of different animals and came to jacana, I always wanted to see it. I managed to see Jacana crossing water by walking on leaves, but never observed the parental care. Thanks for this lovely tale with beautiful pictures, I look forward to reading the following!
How exciting Tayla to witness the arrival of the Jicarna chicks. Your photos are amazing, considering the location of the nest and the foliage density. All chicks are cute but these spotted Jicarna’s have essentially moved the cuteness meter to the top. I’m looking forward to your next installment, hoping these three survive so they can become members of the larger Jicarna family.
When I contemplate how fragile these hatchlings are, and how filled with threats their environment is, it’s hard not to feel a little despair at how they could possibly survive…then I look at the adult male in all his mature glory, and have hope restored for the little ones’ future success. I”ll be looking forward to updates on them. And hoping.
What a nice blog Tayla. I hope that the chicks will make it to adulthood. Nice for you all to see them hatching. Thanks for sharing.
My friend Pam and I were lucky enough to be with Tayla and the Eagle-Eyed Richard when the eggs were first sighted. Each of our subsequent game drives were bookended by our need to be assured that the eggs were still intact. The most frightening sight was of a lizard being way too close to our eggs when we returned one evening. Fortunately they were still intact when we returned the following morning. I actually had a nightmare about it. Despite the many unforgettable experiences that Tayla and Richard provided us during our stay at Londolozi – the memory that I know that will stay with me for the rest of my life is of the Papa Jacana sheltering his eggs no matter the weather or how uncomfortable he must have been – clearly putting his babies ahead of all else. Thank you Tayla for the update. I am so grateful for the memories.
Those egg shells are gorgeous! This is such a sweet post and fascinating. Looking forward to hearing more about these beautiful birds 🙂 🙏🏿
Tayla, thanks for this update on the Jacana nest and hatchlings. Hope they are safe and secure for the next few weeks.
It is very rare to see something as beautiful and unique as the hatched Jacanas. Very excited to see the little ones. Hope the 4th egg will also hatch and may they be successful in growing up. Dad did a good job in sheltering the 3rd egg.
How wonderful! Those eggs are beautiful!
How exciting! I’d forgotten about this, so what a lovely surprise in my inbox. The chicks are adorable. Good luck to them.
Such cute little chicks! They have to feed themselves from the moment of hatching? That is crazy.