Understanding the Lifespan of Lily Birds

Lily birds, also known as lily-trotters or jacanas, are a unique and beautiful species of bird found in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. These birds are known for their long toes and ability to walk on lily pads, hence their name. But how long do these fascinating creatures live? In this article, we will explore the lifespan of lily birds and what factors can affect their longevity.

Average Lifespan

The average lifespan of a lily bird is around 5-6 years in the wild. However, in captivity, they can live up to 10 years. This may seem like a short lifespan compared to other bird species, but there are several factors that contribute to this.

Size and Weight

Lily bird on lily pad

by Mathew Schwartz (https://unsplash.com/@cadop)

Lily birds are relatively small birds, with an average weight of 200-400 grams. This means they have a smaller body mass and require less energy to survive. Smaller birds tend to have shorter lifespans compared to larger birds, as they have a higher metabolism and need to constantly forage for food.


Like most birds, lily birds are preyed upon by larger animals such as snakes, crocodiles, and birds of prey. This constant threat of predators can significantly impact their lifespan. In areas where predators are more prevalent, lily birds may have a shorter lifespan as they are constantly at risk of being hunted.

Habitat and Climate

Lily birds are found in warm, tropical climates, and are highly adapted to living in wetland areas. Changes in their habitat and climate can greatly affect their lifespan. For example, deforestation and pollution can destroy their natural habitat and food sources, making it difficult for them to survive. Climate change can also have a negative impact, as it can alter the water levels and temperatures of their habitat, making it harder for them to find food and shelter.

Diet and Nutrition

Lily birds are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and small insects. Their diet mainly consists of aquatic plants, insects, and small fish. A lack of food or a poor diet can lead to malnutrition and health issues, ultimately shortening their lifespan. In captivity, it is important to provide a balanced and varied diet to ensure the bird’s nutritional needs are met.

Breeding and Reproduction

Lily bird nest

by Zdeněk Macháček (https://unsplash.com/@zmachacek)

Lily birds reach sexual maturity at around 2 years of age and can produce up to 3 clutches of eggs per year. However, the survival rate of their offspring is low, with only 1-2 chicks typically surviving to adulthood. This low survival rate can also contribute to the overall lifespan of the species.


In conclusion, the average lifespan of a lily bird is around 5-6 years in the wild and up to 10 years in captivity. However, there are several factors that can affect their lifespan, including size and weight, predators, habitat and climate, diet and nutrition, and breeding and reproduction. By understanding these factors, we can better appreciate and protect these unique and beautiful birds. Have you ever seen a lily bird in the wild? Share your experience in the comments below.

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