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East African Crowned Cranes
To Purchase Cranes
We recently went to Zolfo Springs to get some Guinea fowl for the farm. We had read that they are excellent for insect control, including fire ants, so we decided to buy some. While we were getting the Guineas, we saw a most astonishing site - two of the most beautiful cranes which I had ever seen. We asked the owner about them, and he told us that they were a breeding pair of East African Crowned Cranes (Balearica regulorum) and that they were for sale.
Well, it did not take long for James to decide that he absolutely had to have these birds. When I discovered how much the chicks sell for, and realized that this could be a profitable venture, we proceeded to purchase them. Today, we drove over to Zolfo Springs to take some photos of the cranes. The seller is holding them for us until we can get an aviary constructed. Here they are:
The East African Crowned Cranes bond for life. This pair has been together for about three years.
Although they are not considered an endangered species, their habitat in Africa is increasingly threatened and they are fairly rare in the United States, being found in zoos and some private collections. It can be difficult to breed them in captivity. You can put a pair together, but if they do not form a pair bond, they will not mate.
The East African Crowned Crane is also referred to as the Grey Crowned Crane and is sometimes called the dancing crane, because the courting ritual involves jumping, bowing, flapping wings, and circling each other with dancing movements. We saw a brief demonstration of this today, as you can see below. We want to get the cranes to our farm as soon as possible, since they have begun courting and will begin nesting and laying eggs soon.
In the photo below, the dancing crane jumped behind a bush and I was only able to get a shot of one of his magnificent wings.
The bright red throat pouch is used to produce a booming call, which we have not yet had the pleasure of hearing.
These are the only species of crane which will perch in trees. They are able to do this because they have evolved a long hind toe that enables them to grasp onto a branch.
The Grey Crowned Crane is the national bird of Uganda and a stylized image of the bird is displayed on the Ugandan flag.
Needless to say, we are thrilled to be able to care for and enjoy the presence of these magnificent birds. Once we get the cranes home, I will take some more photos. I hope to get some video of the dancing ritual as well.
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