<ornithology> Any of several wading birds belonging to the genus Jacana and several allied genera, all of which have spurs on the wings. They are able to run about over floating water weeds by means of their very long, spreading toes. Called also surgeon bird.

The most common South American species is Jacana spinosa. The East Indian or pheasant jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus) is remarkable for having four very long, curved, middle tail feathers.

Origin: Cf. Sp. Jacania.

(01 Mar 1998)

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