South African Crowned Crane
Balearica regulorum regulorum
Inhabits plains and savannas near lakes, ponds, rivers and swamps. Active during the day. Slightly longer and prehensile finger on the feet, which does not occur in other species of cranes, allows it to spend nights on trees. Insects, millipedes, crabs, amphibians, reptiles and grasses create the base of the crane's diet. It stays in flocks most of the year.
A pair of cranes usually forms a lifetime marriage. Mutual bows, high jumps with outstretched wings, tossing and catching twigs, pirouettes and a loud trumpet is a repertoire of one of the most beautiful mating rituals in the world. The nest is an awkward pile of crumpled grass and other plants. Females lay 2 to 3 eggs, then incubates them for about a month. Both parents look after the chicks.
An adult bird reaches a height of up to 130 cm, a weight of 3 to 4 kgs and its wingspan reaches up to 2 meters. The main danger to this species is degradation of its natural habitat.
Did you know? - The Grey Crowned Crane is the national symbol of Uganda. Vigilance, wisdom and faithfulness are some of the positive attributes associated with this bird in many other countries. Ritual dances performed by women of Watussi tribe are inspired by the crane's mating rituals.
IUCN - Red List - EN - Endangered
CITES - Appendix II