Lee Richardson Zoo

East African Crowned Crane

African Crowned Crane

Description: The East African crowned crane is a large, graceful bird with long neck and legs, a streamlined body, and long rounded wings.  It reaches 3 ½ feet in height, with a wingspan up to 6 ½ feet.  It is easily recognizable by a tuft of straw-colored, bristle-like feathers on its crown.  The bird is generally dark gray, with a paler gray neck and underparts.  The wings appear mostly white in flight, with black primaries and chestnut secondaries.  The forehead is black and there are red and white patches on the cheeks.  Males and females are almost identical, but males can be slightly larger.


Wild Range:  South-eastern parts of Africa (Uganda and Kenya, south to Northern Zimbabwe and Mozambique).


Habitat:  Mixture of wetlands and open grassland or savannah;  increasingly found on agricultural land.



Diet in the Wild:  Seeds, grasses, insects, and other small animals such as frogs, lizards, and crabs.


Conservation Status:  Although populations of crowned cranes have declined since the 1980’s, this is still the most abundant African crane and it is not in any immediate danger.  This species adapts well to agricultural areas and breeds easily in captivity.  The species is listed on CITES appendix ll.


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