Grass-dominated wetlands in the floodplains of rivers and small highland marshlands.
Grasses, weeds, insects, fish and amphibians.
This species is typically seen in pairs or in a trio consisting of a breeding pair, which defend a territory, and a juvenile. The wattles become elongated when the bird is aggressive and shrink when the bird is threatened. Wattled cranes are usually quiet birds.
Usually, a single egg is produced, and if two eggs are laid, just one chick will be reared. The incubation period is the longest of any crane species at 33 to 36 days. The fledging period is also the longest of any crane, at 90 to 130 days, and means that the chicks are particularly at risk from predation.
The loss and degradation of wetland habitats, largely caused by the intensification of agriculture, industrialisation and dam building.
The total population is estimated at 13,000 - 15,000. Conservation of habitat on private lands and education programmes, sponsored by private groups, have been initiated. There is a small reintroduction programme in South Africa.
- Latin Name: Grus carunculatus
- Class: Birds
- Order: Gruiformes
- Family: Gruidae
- Conservation status: Vulnerable
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