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The grey crowned crane

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The grey crowned crane

The grey crowned crane is the most beautiful and colorful bird in Uganda mostly found in dry savannah and even in marshes, cultivated lands and grassy flatlands near rivers and lakes. It nests in wetter areas. It is the national bird of Uganda, Iconic African species and features in the country’s flag and coat of arms. It has many interesting features and facts that leave birders exciting and appreciative on their view. The most of all is the grey crown and color makes it beautiful and attractive bird capable of offering an excellent experience to the birders. While exploring what makes Uganda pearl of Africa and its hidden treasure, you will have to see the National bird which is the grey crowned crane (crested crane).

The crested crane is a Balearica regulorum species that belongs to the crane family gruidae found in Uganda, Kenya and Congo. The brightly colored cranes grow to about 1 metre tall and it has wide areas of bare red facial skin on the face just above the white patch but its body plumage is grey. The wings are predominantly white containing feathers of various colors, with a distinctive black patch at the top. The head has a crown of stiff golden feathers while the sides of the face are white with a bright red inflatable throat pouch. The bill is relatively short and grey while legs are black. They have long legs for wading through the grasses and slender feet adapted for balancing. The sexes are similar although males tend to be larger while young birds are greyer than adults with a feathered buff face. The crested crane normally weighs 3.5kg (7.7lbs) and has a wingspan of 2m (6.5ft).

They are omnivores and so they eat meat and plants. Crested crane eats a mix of leaves and seeds from a variety of plants as well as insects, warms, frogs, fish, snakes and aquatic eggs. As such they spend day time walking around while looking for food and spend nights in trees resting and sleeping. They flush out their prey by stamping their feet or spend time near antelopes and gazelles that disturb insects as they graze. The crested crane has a breeding display involving dancing, bowing and jumping. It makes a honking sound and booming call that involves inflation of the red gular sac which draws others closer. Dancing is an integral part of courtship but can be done at any time of the year where both sexes dance and the young ones also join.

They stay with their partners for life and usually graze together in a pair. They form bird bonds when they are young, in which they stay together for life, bleeding and raising the young one together. This is really an acute adaptation and interesting that anyone interested in great birding experience should not miss to hear or see.

They typically lay 2-4 eggs in a clutch and the eggs are ready to hatch in about 30 days. They are then ready to breed when they reach 3 years of age. This is really an interesting bird worth to visit for a graceful view and exciting experience.



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