Black Crowned Crane

Black Crowned Crane

Northern Crowned-crane, West African Crowned-crane, Sudan Crowned-crane

Kingdom
Phylum
Class
Subclass
Infraclass
Superorder
Order
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Balearica pavonina
Population size
43-70 Thou
Life Span
22-25 yrs
TOP SPEED
40 km/h
WEIGHT
3.6 kg
HEIGHT
1 m
WINGSPAN
1.9 m

The Black crowned crane is covered with plumage that is black or nearly black. The wings have white and gold sections, and there are red and white patches of skin on the face behind the eye. Under the head is a small gular pouch that can produce booming noises when inflated. On top of the head is a golden crown. The bird's eyes are brown and its legs and feet are black. The young bird is greyish-brown with a brown nape and crown. Its crest is smaller in size than the adult's. The upper parts have rufous-edged feathers. It is a stately, elegant bird.

Di

Diurnal

Om

Omnivore

Te

Terrestrial

Pr

Precocial

Co

Congregatory

Ov

Oviparous

So

Soaring birds

Mo

Monogamy

So

Social

Fl

Flocking

No

Not a migrant

B

starts with

Distribution

Geography

Black crowned cranesmake their home in the savannah of sub-Saharan Africa, from Sudan and Ethiopia in the east, over to the west coast including Senegal and Gambia. They live in shallow wetlands and mixed grasslands and often frequent flooded wetlands, wet croplands, rice fields, and upland fields in West Africa. In East Africa, these birds prefer wet areas, such as wet meadows, large marshes, freshwater lakes, and rivers.

Black Crowned Crane habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Black crowned cranes generally live in a defined area, but will fly on a daily and seasonal basis for several dozen kilometers. In the dry season (non-breeding time) large flocks of as many as several hundred birds are formed. During the breeding season, a single pair nests within territories of 0.5-1 square kilometers. Primarily diurnal, they sleep at night while standing on one or other leg, preferably in the water. Black crowned cranes usually feed in the mornings and afternoons, with plenty of time for other activities. They spend much time preening, as do all birds. Black crowned cranes look for food singly, in pairs, or with a small group. They peck on the surface rather than digging into the soil. During drier spells, they tend to feed near livestock, where invertebrates are in abundance. Black crowned crane vocalization is characterized as generally low-pitched and mellow “honk” and “ka-wonk ka-wonk ka-wonk” expressions.

Seasonal behavior
Bird's call

Diet and Nutrition

Black crowned cranes are omnivores and will eat anything small enough that they can catch, including snails, insects, crabs, lizards, amphibians, and snakes. They also eat seeds and fruit.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
July-October
INCUBATION PERIOD
28-31 days
INDEPENDENT AGE
60-100 days
BABY NAME
chick
BABY CARRYING
2-3 eggs

These cranes are monogamous and form a bond with their mate for life. During the mating season, the birds perform beautiful courtship displays with accompanying calls, starting with mutual repeated bowing. They then spread their wings to hop, run and jump up into the air, their legs dangling. They may preen each other. The breeding season lasts from July until October, in accordance with the rains. The female lays 2-3 eggs. The parents take turns incubating the eggs for about 28-31 days, with the female's turn being mainly during the night, while both parents have turns during the day. Soon after hatching the chicks go with their parents to feed nearby. They are able to fly 60 to 100 days later.

Population

Population threats

The biggest threat to Black crowned cranes is the degradation and loss of their wetland habitats due to drainage of wetlands and conversion for agriculture, excessive grazing, drought, fire, agricultural and industrial pollution, oil exploration, and dam construction. This crane is also threatened by the illegal hunting by locals and pet trade.

Population number

According to the IUCN Red list as of 2004, the total population of the Black crowned crane was estimated to be between 43,000 and 70,000 birds. The western sub-population was estimated to number around 15,000 individuals and the eastern sub-population was estimated at 28,000-55,000 individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • In Kenya's cultural life the Black crowned crane is known as a messenger of peace.
  • This species is often confused with the Grey crowned crane, which is very similar, but they live in different places.
  • This crane is the most beautiful one of all and the only one to roost in trees.
  • The amazing dances performed by the adult birds are not only connected with mating behavior but are considered to be an expression of joy.

References

1. Black Crowned Crane Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_crowned_crane
2. Black Crowned Crane on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22692039/0
3. Xeno-canto bird call - https://xeno-canto.org/267451

More Fascinating Animals to Learn About