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Home » Blog » Uganda’s National bird, the Crested Crane

Uganda’s National bird, the Crested Crane

Uganda has over 1,050 confirmed bird species but for its beauty, the Crested Crane (Balearica regulorum gibbericeps) is the Uganda’s national bird. The Crested Crane is a sub-species of the Grey crowned crane and its one of the species many appreciate seeing on a Uganda birding tour. The Crested Crane appears on Uganda’s national symbols, it’s on the right side of the national coat of arms and in the center of the national flag.

The Crested Crane
Crested Cranes

Description of the Crested Crane

The Crested Crane is a tall bird about three feet (3ft) tall. The plumage is a combination of white, yellowish and pearl grey, around the head there’s a combination of red in the wattles, white on the sides and black forehead, crest is yellowish. The bird stands with tall slim legs that help in wading through the grasses and has a long slender neck just like its legs. Its wingspan is as wide as 6.5ft as it spreads its beautiful colors. A Crested Crane walks with majesty expressing lot of beauty and serenity just like the country it represents. Both sexes may look similar but males tend to be slightly larger and the young birds are greyer than adults. This is one of the most colorful birds to see on a Uganda birding safari.

Crested Crane Habitats

They generally inhabit dry and open areas but nest in wet areas like the wetland marshes, lakes and river margins, damp fields and in cultivated plains. The Crested Crane can be seen in the open savannah plains of Murchison Falls National Park and some other places in the country.

What does the Crested Crane feed on?

Crested Crane foods are varied since its omnivores. Their food ranges from plant matter like sedge seeds, millet, rice, corn, peas, crustaceans, mollusks to insects and animal matter like grasshoppers, flies, fish. They also feed on amphibians and reptiles but mostly prefer heads of grasses and sedges.

The Crested Crane’s social life

They are monogamous in nature (they have one partner for life) though they appear in flocks for feeding. They are excellent in dancing and if your lucky to see this dance on a bird watching safari in Uganda it will be the best bird experience. It’s the time when its beauty is at its fullest. The Crested Crane is more sedentary with not much migration patterns. When it comes to making a call, the Crested Crane makes deep, booming love calls involving inflation of the red wattle. Its more of a honking noise. The Crested Crane lives much longer than many other birds, it lives to up to 22 years in the wild.

Safari Uganda and see lots of beautiful birds, discover why the Crested Crane is Uganda’s prestigious bird and a lot more.


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