Lesser Jacana Microparra capensis


Justification of Red List Category
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 is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to 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.

Trend justification
The population trend is difficult to determine because of uncertainty over the impacts of habitat modification on population sizes.


Behaviour The migratory movements of this species are very little known (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It is a sedentary resident of permanent wetlands throughout its range (del Hoyo et al. 1996) although some populations appear to be nomadic, appearing at ephemeral wetlands (Hockey et al. 2005) and seasonally flooded pans even after years of absence during drought (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species breeds in territorial solitary pairs (Urban et al. 1986), the timing of breeding varying geographically in response to wet seasons and the availability of suitable habitat (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Outside of the breeding season the species can be observed singly or in loose groups of up to 20 individuals (Hockey et al. 2005). Habitat The species shows a preference for shallow water around the edges of permanent and seasonally flooded wetlands, with areas of sparse sedge (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (Rhynchosporia, Eliocharis, Cyperus and Juncus spp.) (Hockey et al. 2005), aquatic grasses (Leersia and Hemarthria spp.) (Hockey et al. 2005) and stands of floating vegetation such as water-lilies(Nymphaea and Nymphoides spp.) (Hockey et al. 2005). It inhabits lake and dam backwaters (Hockey et al. 2005), river flood-plains (e.g. Okavango Delta) (del Hoyo et al. 1996), swampy river edges, pans, coastal lagoons (Natal, South Africa) (Urban et al. 1986), grassy swamps (Hayman et al. 1986) and sometimes small ponds (Urban et al. 1986), although it generally avoids shorelines with firm substrates (Urban et al. 1986). Diet The diet of this species consists predominantly of insects, although it may take small pieces of aquatic vegetation (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) and seeds (Hayman et al. 1986). Breeding site The nest is a small floating platform of aquatic vegetation positioned on shallow water (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996).


Text account compilers
Malpas, L., Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S.

Dowsett, R.J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Microparra capensis. Downloaded from on 16/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 16/08/2022.