East African Crested Crane

East African Crowned Crane at Wingham Wildlife Park

This bird stands around 1 meter high (3.3ft) and weighs on average 3.5Kg (7.7 pounds).

Habitat and Distribution
This bird lives in the dried savannahs of Africa, remaining South of the Sahara, however it will nest in slightly wetter areas.  Its range is mainly confined to areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.

The average lifespan of this bird in the wild is 22 years, however can be considerably longer in captivity.

This is an omnivorous bird which feeds both on a large number of grass seeds, as well as a variety of different insects.

Groups and Breeding
These birds perform very elaborate courtship displays and once the female accepts the males advances and breeds, she will lay between 2 and 5 eggs in a platform nest made up mainly of grasses in wetland areas.  Both the parents will incubate and protect the eggs, which hatch out after 28 to 31 days.

This bird does not face many threats and is still common throughout its range.  Its main threat comes from the conversion of its main habitat ranges in to agricultural land.

Interesting facts
These birds do not only dance during courtship displays but can be seen dancing at any age and it is believed that as well as being a normal part of their development, this dancing also serves to strengthen social bonds and vent aggression.