Gray Crowned Crane

ANIMAL:
Gray Crowned Crane Balearica regulorum

Type of Animal:
Crane

Habitat:
Mixed wetland/grassland, wetlands, grasslands, marshes, savanna, cultivated areas, grassy flatlands near rivers/lakes, pastures, croplands, fallow fields, vleis, floodplains, mixed grassland-river areas, rivers

Location(s):
E & southern Africa

Appearance:
Somewhat tall very stately elegant looking bird, white wings w/ white/brown/gold feathers, stiff golden feather crown, white cheek patches, red throat pouch, short gray bill, long black legs, slate gray to bluish gray body feathers being mostly dark but lighter in front/neck area, juveniles have feathered buff faces/grayish body/brown nape

Food/Diet:
Grasses, seeds, grains, soybeans, sedge seeds, potatoes, insects, aquatic animal eggs, small fish, nuts, plant matter, snakes, frogs, small toads, worms, lizards, crabs, small mammals, greens

Status in Wild:
Threatened

Conservation:
Breeding in zoos, wildlife parks, & breeding centers

Lifestyle:
Flocks of 6-150 birds for most of year. Break off into monogamous pairs for breeding/nesting season. Juveniles often form flocks of their own.

Additional Info:

Called:
Male: Cock
Female: Hen
Young: Chick
Group: Flock
 
Weight:
Male: 8 lbs
Female: 7 lbs
 
Gestation:
2 months 

Life Span:
20-30 years

Height:
Male: 3.6 ft
Female: 3.3 ft

Body Length:
Male: 3.6 ft
Female: 3.3 ft

Tail Length:
1 ft, same for both sexes

Main predators are lions, wild dogs, leopards, caracals, servals, pythons, crocodiles, hyenas, cheetahs, & domestic dogs. Mongooses & pigs eat eggs.
 
Threatened due to water pollution, habitat loss/alteration/destruction, poisoning, harvesting of eggs/chicks/adults for food/medicinal purposes, pet trade, dam construction, mining, hunting for feathers/meat, powerline collisions, overgrazing, & persecution as crop pests.
 
1 of only 2 crane species able to roost in trees-other being the black crowned crane. Long hind toes enable this.
 
Courtship involves nuptial dance consisting of bobbing, bowing, & jumping. Pair also make honking calls.
 
Pairs lay 1-5 eggs & chicks stay w/ parents for up to a year.
 
Sexually mature at 2 years old.
 
Have 5.9-6.6 ft wingspan, w/ males having larger wingspan.
 
Chicks can swim 12 hours after hatching & eat after a day.
 
Territories typically 0.5-1 sq mi.
 
Often follow grazing ungulates to eat flushed insects as well as grasses.
 
To hunt, they stamp their feet on ground to flush prey out.
 
Due to seed eating diet, they’re important seed dispersers.

Fun Fact(s):
Common sacred symbol throughout range, symbolizing coming of rain, wealth, & longevity.
 
In Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, the bird that attacks Paul Blart is a Gray Crowned Crane.
 
Pairs can be aggressive in defense of territory/chicks, sometimes even attacking people.
 
National bird & symbol of Uganda.

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