East-African Crowned Crane

by Agata Trinidad Diaz

…Named for the distinctive, bristle-like golden feathers on the back of their head…

The African Crowned Crane

East African Crowned Crane: Ballerica Regulorum Gibberceps

South African Crowned Crane: Baallerica Regulorum Regulorum

(both identical)

Distribution: Angola, Botswana, Burundi ,The Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Habitat: The cranes inhabits in wetlands such as  marshes, dams with tall vegetation, river banks, shallowly flooded plains, etc. The cranes show a preference for short to medium height open grass lands adjacent to wetlands for forging.

Main Threats: Habitat loss, POISONING, power line collisions, burning wetlands, pet trade, bush meat, pesticides and egg collections.

IUCN Red Data Base Listing: VU (vulnerable)=risk of extinction

Breading: The crane itself is not a migratory species a;though it may make variable local and seasonal movements depending on the abundance and distribution of food, nest- sites, and rainfall. The Timing of breeding varies in refashion to the rains with the bleeding of East African population peaking during dry periods, but the South African population peaking through wet periods.The height of the breeding season is around December.  The species nests in solitary territorial parts but often flocks together and roots communally at night in groups of up to 20-200 individuals. The abundance,distribution of food and suitable resting sites are the key ecological factors of determining the size of the home. Nests are built towards the edges of wetlands from grasses stacked and flattened into a dry platform. Once chicks have hatched it takes 55-100 days for them to fledged.

*Incubation:20-31 days  *Numbers of young:1-4

Life Cycle:

*Crowned cranes are sociable birds living in flocks of 200 birds during most of the year.

*During breeding season, mated pairs establish and defend nesting territory using their loud calls towards other birds. Both parents incubate the female at night and the male during the day.

*The chicks develop fight feathers at 2-4 moths but after fledgling away with their parents , young birds gather with other juveniles and more to new foraging and roosting sites.

* By 18 months the young now developed adult plumage and begin practicing threat displays and mating dances.

*Finally fully Matured by 2-3 years of age.

* they can live up to 20-40 years.

Eats: Seeds, plants, grains, insects, worms, frogs, lizards, small fish and eggs.

Eaten by: Humans(bush meat), Hyenas, Lions, Leopards, and Cheetahs.

Physical Description:

*44-48 inches tall (males are slightly taller on average)

*weigh around 6-8 pounds

*wingspan of 6 and half ft.

*Wings are are black and chestnut coloring

*bright chest patch above white cheeks and red neck wattle

*long legs and the peak is black

Feet Stomping:  The cranes stomp their feet as they walk across the wetland, this flushes out insects and other potential prey.

Dance: This elaborate dance consists of head-bobbing, wing- fluttering, leaps and deep bows, ruining with wings flapping and even shot low flights. This dance serves as courtship rituals to attract males. For young birds, dancing helps develop physical and social skills. Spontaneous dancing can occurs at anytime of the year. In a flock of cranes, if one starts dancing soon all other join in.\

Cultural Resemblance: In many cultures including American Indians, Australian Aborigines, African Tribes and Ainu of Japan…humans mimic crane dances.

Crane Chorus: Loud call can be heard from 5km away. This called is called the UNISON CALL pf mated pair of crowned cranes annouces their presence in occupied territory and warns others away.

Fun Facts:

1. Only species of crane that can roost in trees due to their prehensile hind toe that allows the to grasp tree limbs.

2. Crowned Cranes will sometimes feign injury to lure predator away from nest site.

Links:

http://sabap2.adu.org.za/sppsummaryphp?spp=214

http://www.deverxoo.org/downloads/dzoo_crowned_crane.pdf

www.birdlife,org

http://www.kzcrane.co.za./greycrownedcrane.html

www.birdnote.org