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Gray Crowned Crane – My Shot of the Day – February 29, 2012

gray crowned crane

The Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum) is a bird in the crane family Gruidae. It occurs in dry savannah in Africasouth of the Sahara, although it nests in somewhat wetter habitats. They can also be found in marshes, cultivated lands and grassy flatlands near rivers and lakes in eastern from the Uganda and Kenya, south to South Africa. This animal does not migrate. 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 represented in its national flag, and Kenya to eastern South Africa. It has a larger area of bare red facial skin above the white patch than the smaller nominate species, B. r. 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.

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The Gray Crowned Crane is Endangered

Status: Endangered, population has declined 50-79% across most of the species’ range over the last 45 years (excluding South Africa, where the population has remained stable).

Range: The Grey Crowned Crane’s range stretches from the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Kenya to southeastern South Africa. They are non-migratory, but undertake variable local and seasonal movements, and are most abundant in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.

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