Grey Crowned Crane
(209) 105 cm; 3.55 kg
Alike, M>F. Plumage distinctive. In ﬂight, only crane in region to
have white upper-and underwing coverts. White cheek patch
featherless, gular wattles red.
Browner than ad, especially on upperparts. Crest less developed,
bare white face patch with cream feathering and white wing patch
less distinct. Wattles black or grey.
Uncommon to locally common resident. Listed as Vulnerable in South
Africa due mainly to loss of br range and reduction of suitable
habitat. Global population estimated to be about 10,000 birds, the s
African population about 6,000-7,000 birds. Regular movements
recorded between br and non-br season. Found in pairs during br, and
in ﬂocks of up to about 300 birds during non-br, season.
Breeds in marshes, pans and dam margins with tall emergent
vegetation. Feeds in adjacent short to medium height open grassland,
wetlands and in agricultural lands (in ﬂocks) in non-br season. Non-br
birds roost communally in trees, structures and in shallow water at
night. Br birds roost on ground near nest in wetlands.
Omnivorous. Strips seeds off grasses and eats leaves. Vertebrates
include frogs, lizards, small rodents and shrews. Feeds on wide
range of invertebrates such as locusts, grasshoppers, cutworms, army
worms, millipedes and crabs.
Duet by mated pair is series of low-pitched rhythmic booming, M
lower pitched than F. Flight call bisyllabic mournful ma-hem.
Monogamous. Most nests built of aquatic vegetation and placed over
shallow water in area of tallest surrounding vegetation. Also nests
on dry ground and occasionally in trees on old stick nests. Usual
clutch size 3 eggs; incubation period 29-31 days, by both sexes; ﬂedgling
period 56-100 days.
Click for call