๐Ÿพ Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Grey Crowned Cranes


"Crowned Crane" Indian ink and watercolour - Maree©

The Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum) is a bird in the crane family Gruidae. It occurs in dry Savannah in Africa south of the Sahara, although it nests in somewhat wetter habitats.

There are two subspecies. The East African B. r. gibbericeps (Crested Crane) occurs from eastern Democratic Republic of the Conge through Uganda, of which it is the national bird, and Kenya to eastern South Africa. It has a larger area of bare red facial skin above the white patch than the smaller Balearica regulorum regulorum (South African Crowned Crane) which breeds from Angola South to South Africa.

This species and the closely related Black Crowned Crane are the only cranes that can roost in trees, because of a long hind toe that can grasp branches. This habit, amongst other things, is a reason why the relatively small Balearica cranes are believed to closely resemble the ancestral members of the Gruidae.


"Grey Crowned Crane Dance" watercolour - Maree©

The Grey Crowned Crane has a breeding display involving dancing, bowing, and jumping. It has a booming call which involves inflation of the red gular sac. It also makes a honking sound quite different from the trumpeting of other crane species.



The nest is a platform of grass and other plants in tall wetland vegetation. The Grey Crowned Crane lays a clutch of 2-5 eggs. Incubation is performed by both sexes and lasts 28-31 days. Chicks fledge at 56-100 days.

The Grey Crowned Crane is about 1 m (3.3 ft) tall and weighs 3.5 kg (7.7 lbs). Its body plumage is mainly grey. The wings are also predominantly white, but contain feathers with a range of colours. The head has a crown of stiff golden feathers. The sides of the face are white, and there is a bright red inflatable throat pouch. The bill is relatively short and grey, and the legs are black. The sexes are similar, although males tend to be slightly larger. Young birds are greyer than adults, with a feathered buff face. Like all cranes, it feeds on insects, reptiles and small mammals.



Although the Grey Crowned Crane remains common over much of its range, it faces threats to its habitat due to drainage, overgrazing, and pesticide pollution. Recent evidence of large-scale declines, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape provinces, and the restriction of its range in the Free State and Transkei qualifies the Grey Crowned Crane as Vulnerable. The loss of wetland breeding habitat, direct poisoning of birds in agricultural lands and the removal of chicks from the wild has led to this species’ reduction in population size. The current population is estimated at 3 500 - 4 500 Adults

4 comments:

  1. When you see them in real life they look like wax models, very much like the Puffins do. And thanks for visiting my site, Sally.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree, they are spectacular Pedro. thanks for visiting my site.

    ReplyDelete

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