(208) 110 cm; 4.9 kg
Alike, M > F. Overall grey appearance (except for white crown)
should eliminate confusion with other species including Wattled
Crane, which has a white neck. The elongated feathers that hang
almost to the ground are tertials (inner wing feathers). Known to
hybridise with Wattled Crane in the wild.
Paler than ad. Lacks bulbous head-shape, elongated tertials develop
at about 1 year.
Locally common in a few areas but with a drastically reduced
population from a historical estimate of about 100 000 birds to
approximately 20 000 at end of 1990s. Endemic, and listed as
Vulnerable. Some populations thought to be migratory, some locally
nomadic and others largely resident. Out of br season forms large
flocks up to 1 000 birds. Roosts in shallow waters at night.
Mostly natural grassland but also in wetlands, cultivated pastures
Omnivorous and probably primarily vegetarian. Eats small bulbs,
seeds and roots. Invertebrates include bollworm, caterpillars,
grasshoppers, termites and worms. Animal prey includes fish, frogs,
reptiles and small mammals.
Loud, guttural, rattling kraaaarrrk, often in duet with M
lower-pitched than F.
Monogamous. On wet ground, nest is pad of vegetation; on dry
ground, eggs may be encircled with pebbles, dry vegetation or
mammal dung. Usual clutch 2 eggs; incubation period 29-30 days.
Click for call