The wattled crane is Africa’s most endangered bird! Once ranging from the coastal west of Africa to the African horn down to the southern tip of Africa, the wattled crane is now only found in the Okavango Delta. It is estimated that only 7,000+ remain in the wild.
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Bugeranus carunculatus
Weight: 18 lbs.
Height: Nearly 6′
Lifespan: Up to 30 years
Now on to the Facts!
1.) They eat tubers and rhizomes of submerged sedges, grain, grass seed, and insects.
2.) Their decline is mainly due to habitat loss. Especially due to changing hydrology, invasive species, unsustainable exploitation of wetlands, human disturbance, fire, and conversion of grasslands to agriculture.
3.) This species is typically seen in pairs or in a trio consisting of a breeding pair, which defend a territory, and a juvenile.
4.) The wattled crane nests in shallow wetlands where they are unlikely to be disturbed by humans or other predators.
5.) These cranes have very complex social behaviors and body language plays an important role in communication and reproduction.
But wait, there’s more on the wattled crane!
6.) Courtship displays often include leaping, dancing and stick throwing. These displays can last from a few seconds to several minutes.
7.) Clutches consist of 1 – 2 eggs, but typically only one chick is reared. Incubation is generally 36-40 days.
Did you know…?
Threats to these cranes include poisoning, human disturbance, and collisions with power lines.
8.) Fledging success rate is roughly 60%. Juveniles remain with their parents for approximately 12 months, after that they join a non-breeding flock.