This beautiful Gray Crowned Crane was very pleased I was taking his photo! If any of the other cranes got too close he would chase them away and then rush back and pose for me again. He was incredibly entertaining as well as being a very cooperative model!
The Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum) is a bird in the crane family Gruidae. It occurs in dry savannah in Africa south of the Sahara, although it nests in somewhat wetter habitats. This animal does not migrate.
This species and the closely related Black Crowned Crane are the only cranes that can roost in trees, because of a long hind toe that can grasp branches.
The Grey Crowned Crane has a breeding display involving dancing, bowing, and jumping. It has a booming call which involves inflation of the red gular sac. It also makes a honking sound quite different from the trumpeting of other crane species.
The nest is a platform of grass and other plants in tall wetland vegetation. The Grey Crowned Crane lays a clutch of 2-5 eggs. Incubation is performed by both sexes and lasts 28-31 days. Chicks fledge at 56-100 days.
The Grey Crowned Crane is about 1 m (3.3 ft) tall and weighs 3.5 kg (7.7 lbs). Its body plumage is mainly grey. The wings are also predominantly white, but contain feathers with a range of colours. The head has a crown of stiff golden feathers. The sides of the face are white, and there is a bright red inflatable throat pouch. The bill is relatively short and grey, and the legs are black. The sexes are similar, although males tend to be slightly larger. Young birds are greyer than adults, with a feathered buff face. Like all cranes, it feeds on insects, reptiles and small mammals.
Although the Grey Crowned Crane remains common over much of its range, it faces threats to its habitat due to drainage, overgrazing, and pesticide pollution.
The Grey Crowned Crane eats grass seeds and insects, along with other invertebrates.
Taken near Issaquah Washington (USA) at Cougar Mountain Zoo.
Nikon D300 ~ 80-400mm lens
331 views as of 2-5-11
30 favs as of 2-5-11
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