East African crowned crane standing in green field.

East African crowned crane

May I have this dance?

Type

flamingo

Birds

Area

Southern African Coast

Southern Coastal Africa

Endangered Status

Some Endangered

facts

size
4 feet tall
height
An average soccer ball is 8.65 inches tall.
East African crowned crane standing next to a soccer ball.
food
plants, worms,
insects, lizards, more
omnivore

Crowned cranes also eat small mammals.

habitat
near rivers
and wetlands
Near water habitat

description

East African crowned crane looking behind itself as it stands in a green field.

Royal bird

The East African crowned crane is a tall, majestic-looking bird that sports a sort of crown of tall, stiff, golden feathers. The crane's long legs and neck and excellent peripheral vision help it spot predators in the tall savanna grasses of eastern sub-Saharan Africa and South Africa.

A pair of African crowned cranes courtship dancing.

Potential partners

Crowned cranes are famous for their courtship, especially the mating dance between the male and female. The dance consists of bobbing, flapping wings, and swinging circles around each other. Crowned cranes are usually found in pairs but have been seen alone and in small flocks of 3 to 20 individuals. There have even been a few groups of 51 to 150 birds seen! A successful pair of mated crowned cranes keeps its family group together for almost a year. After that, the young birds often form their own flock and spend much of their time feeding in fields.

African crowned crane with wings spread.

Feathered forecasters?

Many people believe that these cranes are able to bring rain with them, so they add pictures of cranes or their movements into their own rituals to bring about the rainy season. The crowned crane is the national bird of Uganda.