Lee Richardson Zoo

Stanley Crane

AKA Blue crane

Order: Gruiformes - cranes, lumpkins, rails, gallinules, coots, bustards
Family:  Gruidae - cranes

Scientific name:Anthropoides paradisea


Description: The Stanley Crane’s main color is blue-gray (hence its nickname “Blue Crane”).  The head is completely covered with long, loose, silvery-gray feathers, which gives it a swollen appearance.  The wing coverts are dark gray to black and are so greatly elongated that they touch the ground.  Tails are very short on cranes and usually not visible unless the crane raises its wings.  Iris is dark brown; bill flesh colored; legs and feet are black; overall length reaches 42 inches.  The female is distinctly smaller than the male.  Its call is a loud, high-pitched ‘craaaaarrk.’ 

Range:  Southern Africa.


Habitat:  grasslands.


Reproductive Habits:  They generally nest in high elevation grassland where there are fewer disturbances.  Some prefer to nest in agricultural areas and not use natural vegetation.  Nesting in the summer, two eggs are laid in the grass or on bare ground.  The eggs are brownish-yellow marked with elongated blotches of darker brown and olive.  Incubation period id 30-33 days and the fledgling period lasts 3 to 5 months.


Diet in Wild:  Insects, small vertebrates, wheat, barley, maize and seeds of grasses.


Diet in ZooMazuri crane food, Bird of Prey meat, alfalfa hay, mealworms.


General InfoThis immaculately plumed species is the national bird of South Africa and is named after Henry M. Stanley, of Stanley and Livingston fame.  The Stanley Crane is primarily a bird of dry, upland grasslands living in pairs with one or two young. Only in the migratory season do they flock together.  A unique characteristic of this bird is their dance of leaps, pirouettes, bowing and running.  Intentional and unintentional poisoning and growing human population pressure are its most significant threats; conservation efforts have escalated as a result.  Recent population is estimated at 21,000 and is declining.  The species is classified by the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable and CITES, appendix ll.


PredatorsMedium to large canine and feline mammals.


Related Artifacts:  None.



Encyclopaedia of Aviculture. Vol. I. A. Rutgers and K.A. Norris. Blandford Press. Poole, Dorset. 1979. p. 254.


International Crane Foundation website


The Honolulu Zoo website