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Crane: East African crowned grey crane

Balearica regulorum
Bird

IUCN Status
This is an endangered species just upgraded to this level in 2012 due to so much wetland drainage, use of pesticides and overgrazing that occurs in its range.



Diet

A typical omnivore eating plants, seeds, grain, insects, frogs, worms, small fish & their eggs! They can be observed stamping their feet when feeding in the vegetation to flush out insects.

Habitat

Dry savannah of Africa to the East and south of the Sahara near wetlands and marsh.

Behaviour

An unusual crane possibly the oldestof the crane species as they still have a long hind toe which enables them to perch at roost in trees! This species does flock but for breeding like other cranes becomes territorial. They have a red gular sac which inflates giving a booming call while they dance and pair bond.

Breeding

A large nest of rotting vegetation is made nearby to water (usually on rushes) where two white eggs are laid and incubated for about 30 days. The chicks are cared for by both parents and are precocial being able to run and feed with their parents straight after hatching.

Fun Facts

There are two sub species of crowned cranes one with a grey neck from east Africa (Uganda etc.,) and the other a black neck from West Africa.

Crowned cranes unlike virtually all other species of crane do not migrate but flock when not breeding.

At The Zoo

We have a pair of these crowned cranes the female still quite young (born in 2012) that are still bonding and have yet to reproduce. They share an aviary with Eastern cattle egrets and we have high hopes for the future breeding potential from this pair. Unfortunately during the breeding season the cock crowned crane can often be seen displaying up in the nests of the cattle egerets!!