African Crowned Crane

African Crowned Crane

Birds

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: African crowned crane
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Aves
ORDER: Gruiformes
FAMILY: Gruidae
GENUS SPECIES: Balearica pavonina (of a peacock; referring to the crown or crest)

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION: Large, long-legged birds, straight bills, long necks and elevated hind toe, bare pink or red and white cheek patch, golden feathery 'crown' protruding from back of head
SIZE: 110-130 cm (43.3-51 in)
WEIGHT: 3-4 kg (6.6-8.8 lb)
DIET: Grass seeds
INCUBATION: 28-36 days
CLUTCH SIZE 2-4 eggs
SEXUAL MATURITY: No data
LIFE SPAN: Up to 25 years in zoos; wild life span unknown
RANGE: No data
HABITAT: Open marshlands, grasslands, and swamps
POPULATION: GLOBAL No data
STATUS: IUCN Not listed
CITES Not listed
USFWS Not listed

FUN FACTS

1. Unlike most cranes, crowned cranes lack folds in their windpipes making their voices very different from other cranes.
2. Crowned cranes occasionally roost in trees, a trait not seen in other cranes.
3. These cranes are often considered the living fossils of the crane family. They were able to survive the Ice Age in the savannas of Africa.

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

These cranes are important to the wetlands they live in as grazers on vegetation and as predators of small animals. Habitat destruction has been their greatest threat. As wetlands are drained for agricultural expansion these flock must move to find suitable habitats. They are also easy targets for egg collectors and poachers because of their conspicuous plumage.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Gotch, A.F. Birds - Their Latin Names Explained. Poole, Dorst: Blandford Press, 1981.

Perrins, Dr. Christopher M. Birds: Their Life, Their Ways, Their World. New York: The Reader's Digest Association, Inc., 1979.

Perrins, Dr. Christopher M. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Birds: The Definitive Reference to Birds of the World. New York: Prentice Hall Press, 1990.

Perrins, Dr. Christopher M., Middleton, Dr. Alex L.A. eds. The Encyclopedia of Birds. New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985.