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Three Star Grading

Tourism Grading Council
South Africa





 

 

 

 

 

 



Birds of South Africa

Click on Links below to see info of South African and St. Lucia Bird Species
African Crowned Eagle| African Fish Eagle| Black Shouldered Kite| Blue Crane| Great White Pelican| Malachite Kingfisher| Purple Crested Lourie| Secretary Bird| Spotted Eagle Owl| Verreaux's (Black) Eagle|

Common Name: Blue Crane

Scientific Name: Anthropoidesp paradisea

Description:

The Blue Crane, also known as the Stanley Crane and the Paradise Crane, is the national bird of South Africa. It is a tall, ground-dwelling bird, but is fairly small by the standards of the crane family. This crane is pale blue-gray in colour with a white crown, a pink bill, and long, dark gray wingtip feathers which trail to the ground. Of the 15 species of crane, the Blue Crane has the most restricted distribution of all. The Blue Crane is a bird very special to the amaXhosa, who call it indwe. When a man distinguished himself by deeds of valour, or any form of meritorious conduct, he was often decorated by a chief by being presented with the feathers of this bird. After a battle, the chief would organise a ceremony called ukundzabela a ceremony for the heroes, at which feathers would be presented. Men so honoured they wore the feathers sticking out of their hair were known as men of ugaba (trouble) - the implication being that if trouble arose, these men would reinstate peace and order.

Bird

Pictures: Courtesy of South African Tourism!

Size:

The Blue Crane is 100-120 cm tall and weighs from 4 to 6.2 kg

Area:

In the last two decades, the Blue Crane has largely disappeared from the Eastern Cape, Lesotho, and Swaziland. The population in the northern Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West Province has declined by up to 90%. The majority of the remaining population is in eastern and southern South Africa, with a small and separate population in the Etosha Pan of northern Namibia. Occasionally, isolated breeding pairs are found in five neighbouring countries. The primary causes of the sudden decline of the Blue Crane are human population growth, the conversion of grasslands into commercial tree plantations, and poisoning: deliberate (to protect crops) or accidental (baits intended for other species, and as a side-effect of crop dusting.

Habits:

The Blue Crane is a bird of dry grasslands and other upland habitats. Where shallow wetlands are available, Blue Cranes will roost and feed in them.

Nesting:

Preferred nesting sites of Blue Cranes include secluded grasslands in higher elevations where eggs are laid amid the grass or on the bare ground. In agricultural areas, they nest in pastures, in fallow fields, and in crop fields when stubble becomes available after harvest. Females usually lay two eggs and incubation (by both sexes) lasts 30-33 days. The male takes the primary role in defending the nest against possible danger. Chicks fledge (first flight) between 3-5 months of age.

Food:

Blue Cranes are birds of the dry, grassy uplands which feed on seeds and insects and spend little time in wetlands. They are altitudinal migrants, generally nesting in the upper grasslands and moving down to lower altitudes for winter. Many occupy agricultural areas.