of Cranes (Gruiformes)
Cranes are one of the oldest of all living things dating back millions of years. In this WORLD, Cranes are represented
by three species, considered tallest and most beautiful of all cranes.
Common Name: East
African Crowned Crane
Eastern Africa from extreme eastern Zaire, Uganda and Kenya to central Tanzania.
Open landscapes such as extensive marshy areas, low moors, rifts, bogs, along
the shores of lakes, ponds and grasslands near water.
Physical appearance may slightly vary depending on geographic area. The
East African Crowned Crane is about 1 m (3.3 ft) tall and weighs 3.5 kg (7.7
lbs). Its body plumage is mainly
grey. The wings are also
predominantly white, but contain feathers with a range of colours. The head has a crown of stiff golden
feathers. The sides of the face are
white, and there is a bright red inflatable throat pouch. The bill is relatively short and
grey, and the legs are black. The
sexes are similar, although males tend to be slightly larger. Young birds are greyer than adults,
with a feathered buff face.
The Breeding display involves dancing, bowing and jumping. It has a booming call which involves
inflation of the red gular sac. It
also makes a honking sound quite different from the trumpeting of other crane
species. The 2 to 5 pale
bluish-green eggs are incubated for 28 to 31 days by both Female and Male in a
nest made of grass and other plants in tall wetland vegetation. Both parents
care for the young. Flight stage is
reached by the young after about 56 to 100 days depending on nutrition. Even
within large flocks, the birds can be seen to move about in pairs, suggesting a
prolonged pair bond. Within such
flocks, displays are not infrequent, and mutual preening, especially of the neck
feathers, has also been observed.
STATUS in Natural Habitat:
Threatened to endangered in most parts of its habitat due to drainage,
overgrazing and pesticide pollution.
One of the most beautiful of all cranes and the only crane which will roost in
trees. The spectacular dances
performed by the adults are not strictly connected with reproductive behavior
but are also an expression of joy.
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