Crane: Sarus crane
The Indian population which is non migratory is stable but virtually all the other areas where this crane occurs (or used to) especially where migration occurs have been decimated giving this species a vulnerable classification by the IUCN.
Cranes are generally omnivorous eating mainly plant material but the Sarus crane in particular specialises on underground water plant tubers as well as grain and insects, etc.
Like all cranes they nest in and around wetlands and rivers but because this species is tolerated around people due the local communities’ religion they are often found in and around rice fields where there are dense human populations.
The main species (nominate) occurs in India but two sub species occur in northern Australia and western Indochina. These long legged water birds wade through the wetlands and tall waterside rushes looking for food wherever suitable habitat remains
Pair bonding (like most other cranes) for life these magnificent birds produce a single clutch of two eggs once a year. They invest a lot of time and energy in their rearing and in the wild the early onset of the rains often leads to the chick’s deaths.
This is the tallest flying bird in the world attaining nearly 6ft in height (175cm) and a wing span of 8ft (240cm)!
Their raucous calls have been used as the sounds of pterodactyls in the film industry for years!
At The Zoo
Our young pair have yet to successfully breed although for the last 2 years they have laid a clutch of eggs. At the start of the breeding season in March they have the most fantastic “unison” call which can be heard for miles as they dance and call to enforce their pair bond!