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Maui 2009

Maui Kula Botantical Gradens 2009

The Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum) is a bird in the crane family Gruidae. It occurs in dry savannah in Africa south of the Sahara, although it nests in somewhat wetter habitats.

There are two subspecies. The East African B. r. gibbericeps (Crested Crane) occurs from eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo through Uganda, of which it is the national bird, and Kenya to eastern South Africa. It has a larger area of bare red facial skin above the white patch than the smaller Balearica regulorum regulorum (South African Crowned Crane) which breeds from Angola south to South Africa.

This species and the closely related Black Crowned Crane are the only cranes that can roost in trees, because of a long hind toe that can grasp branches. This habit, amongst other things, is a reason why the relatively small Balearica cranes are believed to closely resemble the ancestral members of the Gruidae

The Grey Crowned Crane has a breeding display involving dancing, bowing, and jumping. It has a booming call which involves inflation of the red gular sac. It also makes a honking sound quite different from the trumpeting of other crane species.

The nest is a platform of grass and other plants in tall wetland vegetation. The Grey Crowned Crane lays a clutch of 2-5 eggs. Incubation is performed by both sexes and lasts 28-31 days. Chicks fledge at 56-100 days.

Description

  • About 1 m (3.3 ft) tall and weighs 3.5 kg (7.7 lbs)
  • Body plumageis mainly grey
  • Wings are also predominantly white, but containfeathers with a range of colours
  • Head has a crown of stiff goldenfeathers
  • Sides of the face are white, and there is a bright redinflatable throat pouch
  • Bill is relatively short and grey, and thelegs are black
  • Sexes are similar, although males tend to beslightly larger
  • Young birds are greyer than adults, with a featheredbuff face
  • Like all cranes, it feeds on insects, reptiles and smallmammals.

Although the Grey Crowned Crane remains common over much of its range, it faces threats to its habitat due to drainage, overgrazing, and pesticide pollution.

The Grey Crowned Crane eats grass seeds and insects, along with other invertebrates.

The Grey Crowned Crane is the national bird of Uganda and features in the country's flag and coat of arms

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_Crowned_Crane

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