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Monday, 17 December 2012

Grey Crowned Cranes,

The fields on the farm where I live, are literally swarming with birds of all kinds. This indicates the farming methods used here are wildlife and bird friendly. Two afternoons ago while out walking with the dogs I spotted these two Grey Crowned Cranes. Other birds that I saw included a flock of White Storks, (European Storks) these birds flew off as I was setting up my camera, Spurwing geese, Egyptian geese, several species of ducks, Guinea fowls, and Swainson's Spurfowls, and many others.

Click to enlarge.

Grey Crowned Cranes with a Hadeda Ibis in the foreground. Cranes often gather in flocks of 100 or more, but I only saw two pairs.

Grey Crowned Cranes,  (Baelerica regulorum). These birds are feeding in the newly reaped winter wheat fields. Believe it or not, the next crop, maize, has already been planted here using the minimum till method.

Male crane doing his mating dance, graceful and beautiful to watch. 

Here he has almost covered the female under his wing. Cranes lay two to three eggs, usually in marshes among reeds or tall grass. Incubating period 29 to 31 days, fledgeling 59 to 100 days. The chicks are left alone during the day while the parents fly amazing distances to forage, coming home in the evenings to feed them. 

These birds are listed as vulnerable mainly due to loss of habitat. In southern Africa there are estimated to be about 10,000 breeding pair, with 6,000 to 7,000 being in South Africa.


Joyful said...

Beautiful! How fortunate you were to see the male mating dance and to share it with us.

Mark Kautz-Shoreman said...

Always interesting.