African Crowned Crane African Crowned Crane

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Balearica regulorum

The African crowned crane is a striking and colorful bird with golden feathers on top of its head that resemble a Roman helmet. It changes plumage once a year, except for the remiges, which are shed every two years simultaneously, preventing flight for a few weeks. Both male and female birds have similar plumage. The African species has its red patch beneath the white patch on its cheek. The most distinct characteristic about the crane is its windpipe, which may be 5 feet long, half of which is coiled within its breastbone. The windpipe allows the crane to make loud “trombone-like” calls, which may carry for more than a mile. The elegant African crowned crane will fly with its head, neck, and legs outstretched. It’s one of the few members of the family Gruidae that roost in trees. It will spend its days searching for food and nights sleeping and resting.

Spectacular breeding dances are performed during breeding season. Monogamous breeding pairs will dance with each other stretching out their feathers in display, and strutting and jumping about high into the air. The crane’s nest is built on the ground or in low scrub and bushes where it usually lays two-three eggs. Incubation and chick raising responsibilities are shared by both the male and female. Incubation begins as soon as the first egg is laid. The first chick to leave the nest is placed in the males care, while the female continues to incubate the remaining eggs. Chicks grow very fast and within 10 weeks old are able to fly.



ANIMAL INFORMATION
HABITATFOUND ON THE SAVANNAS OF WEST, CENTRAL, AND SOUTH AFRICA
WEIGHT6.6-8.8 LB.
MATINGSEASON VARIES
GESTATION4 WEEKS
YOUNG2-3 EGGS, DIRTY WHITE WITH SMALL BROWN SPOTS
FAMILYGRUIDAE
ORDERGRUIFORMES
HABITSMALL FLOCKS UP TO 100 BIRDS
DIETSEEDS, ROOTS, INSECTS, FROGS, WORMS, GRUBS
LIFE SPAN22 YEARS


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