Lifescapes Gallery

5 / Mar / 2014
Behold, He Walks on Water!
Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Coorg Photograph: Dr. Bishan Monnappa Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

Behold, He Walks on Water!

For some it has always been a miracle; an act of faith. For others, it has merely been an act of science, albeit awe-inspiring. For centuries, this vision of someone actually treading water has become commonplace in Coorg, yet familiarity hasn’t bred contempt. Those who’ve watched it a thousand times will still stop and wonder when they see the majestic Pheasant-tailed Jacana, alias the Jesus Bird, performing his daily miracle-routine with an air of divine insouciance. The knowledgeable amongst us (read, unromantic scientific spoilsports) will point out that it is only an illusion, and that this Jacana is only walking on the vegetation floating on the lake’s surface. They will point out to this false prophet’s sleight of hand (foot?) involving unfair tools of the trade, like the huge feet and claws, that allow him to tread daintily on those lily and lotus leaves. Okay, so maybe the Pheasant-tailed Jacana isn’t the chosen one, and maybe he isn’t working too hard at disabusing believers of the notion that he’s a water-walker, but this Wader is no Darth (for all those who’ve grown up on the Star Wars Trilogy, and grooved to the Sky-walker) and deserves his stardom. I mean, he’s not just a one-trick pony. If walking on water doesn’t float your boat, consider bronco-riding on water! It isn’t uncommon to see him perched precariously on top of a female Jacana, striving to keep his balance, even as she rhythmically sways from side to side forcing him to mimic her movements to avoid being unhorsed (to mix up metaphors). If he stays on without being thrown, he wins a prize they don’t offer at any Rodeo: the hand of the lady who made him go weak in the knees. With so much talent, chances are that if birds could have pages on social media, his followers would outnumber anyone else. And that, my friends, would be no miracle!

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 at 5:12 am and is filed under Birds . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. Dr.U.Ravi Rao says:

    What a beautiful photograph by dr.Monappa and an excellent caption and story by Rajesh Ramaswamy.
    Keep up the good work!

  2. Ranga n v says:

    Good photograph more than this Rajesh explanation good Orange County U r doing it

  3. Mahendra Bansal says:


  4. Mich Gupta says:

    Your articles have always been both, informative and most entertaining And this one on the Pheasant – tailed Jacana was no exception Would love to see a photograph of them bronco- riding if possible

    • rajesh ramaswamy says:

      Thanx so much. wish we could share the pic, but this is a family channel you know….lol:-)

  5. remedia says:

    Interesting read. look forward to more such ‘stories’ 🙂

  6. abhiyogi says:

    Jesus.. ‘What ah’ bird !

  7. Ramagopal says:

    Yet another lovely photograph and a great write up. Enjoyed reading the story!

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