Endangered baby cranes

3 July 2019

Endangered baby cranes thriving at Crocworld Conservation Centre

The Scottburgh-based Crocworld Conservation Centre has once again demonstrated its commitment to a sustainable natural environment with its successful hatching and rearing of two endangered grey crowned cranes.

“The successful breeding of these Grey Crowned Cranes is a first for Crocworld Conservation Centre,” said Martin Rodrigues, Crocworld Conservation Centre Manager. “The centre has had an adult pair for the past five years, and we are really excited about the progress being made by these two. They have already grown remarkably well.”

The two grey crowned (or lesser crowned) cranes joined the Crocworld Conservation Centre family in March of this year. The centre currently has two of the three crane species - blue crane among them - endemic to South Africa. Following the successful breeding programmes of both the blue crane and the grey crowned crane species, the centre now hopes to start a breeding programme for the wattled crane - South Africa’s most endangered crane species.

The grey crowned crane is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as an endangered species which means it is facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild. They are protected by law in South Africa, and conservation efforts - such as Crocworld Conservation Centre’s- are in place to ensure the survival of the species.

Interesting Facts about Grey Crowned Cranes

  • They are found in grassland and wetland areas of the eastern and southern African regions.
  • Unlike other cranes, Grey Crowned Cranes usually roost in trees.
  • Their courting involves dancing - a nuptial dance - to attract a mate which involves a range of bobs, bows, jumps and calls made by inflating the gular sack.
  • Breeding peaks from December to February in response to rainfall.
  • The breeding pairs mate for life.
  • They share their parental duties so the male and the female both help to build the nest, incubate the egg, and care for the young.
  • They lay between two and five eggs at a time and eggs hatch 28 to 31 days after they’re laid.
  • The chicks are ‘precocial’ which means they can run as soon as they hatch. Within 12 hours they can swim and float.
  • Standing at more than a metre tall, with a wingspan of more than two metres, grey crowned cranes are giants of the bird world.
  • They’re omnivores - eating both plants and animals - and their diet usually consists of plants, grain, insects, snakes and small fish.
  • The wild crane lives for 22 years on average but some reports indicate they could live for up to 60 years in captivity.

Crocworld Conservation Centre was established to connect residents with nature, and encourage people to embrace environmental sustainability as part of a lifestyle. This is achieved through breeding and rehabilitation programmes, as well as educational talks and tours that introduce visitors to the local wildlife and biosphere.

Visitors can get the chance to view the newest grey crowned crane additions and numerous other birdlife, wildlife and plant life at Crocworld Conservation Centre.