The world hosts over 15 different species of cranes, however only four are found in Africa. Christened the Pearl of Africa, Uganda is lucky to be home to one of the crested crane species known as the grey crested crane which it also uses as its National symbol of choice. The grey crested crane is only found in the Eastern and Southern regions of Africa.
According to Nature Uganda, crested cranes now range between 10,000 – 20,000 in Uganda out of the 100,000 that have lived here four decades ago. Research has it that they have reduced in number due to human actions that have led to the habitat loss due to their actions like constructing in wetlands. With these reduced numbers, unlike travellers interested in long birding safaris Uganda, tourists on a 1 Day birding safari Uganda may not get chance to spot it.
In Uganda, the grey crested crane also known as the Crested Crane by Ugandans belongs to the most precious cherished birds in the country. In some circles, it is called the Grey Crown Crane but it was baptized different names in other regions in Uganda like the Teso people refer to it as Owalu and in Buganda, it is called the Ngaali. Birders undertaking Uganda safaris do not always miss out on watching this beautiful bird during their Uganda bird-watching safaris.
The Grey crown crested crane is the national bird of Uganda and is even pictured on Uganda’s flag and the Uganda coat of Arms. With the crane on its the flag, it makes Uganda unique it is the only country with a bird on its national flag. Its beautiful colours that evenly harmonize with the National flag’s colours; Black, yellow and Red. Black symbolizes the black people of Africa and Uganda choosing it as its colour in the flag shows that they are proud to be part of the continent. The Yellow colour symbolizes the abundant sun and the golden light after sunset that is generated from the sun. Red symbolizes brotherhood and this has always called for togetherness and respect others as our brothers or sisters. It further calls for the warmness of Ugandans and friendly to also other people that come from different continents because we all have the same colour of blood.
This crested crane is very elegant and appears on the flag with one of its legs stepping forward behind a white background. The white background symbolizes a bright future for the country and the crane’s legs looking forward shows that the country is moving forward.
Because Uganda is proud of its national symbol, its National team was named after this bird and the country; Uganda Cranes. Furthermore, it was also branded on the old national carrier during the good old days when the planes had flights, the bird was beautifully pictured on the planes.
A Crested Crane defined
During your Uganda tour, you witness that the Crested Crane is a beautiful multi-coloured bird famous bird known for having the three colours of the Ugandan flag; Black, yellow and red. Its multi colours, make the bird look pretty and elegant. A crested crane is about 100cm tall and weighs about 3.5 Kgs. The scientific name is Balearica Regulorum Gibberricipes and it has a pair of wings that measure to 6.5ft. Its body is grey with wings that are predominantly white. Its body feathers contain a variety of colours. A grey Crested Crane head has golden hair on its head. The sides of its face are coloured white. It has a long neck, with a black forehead, yellowish chest, with glowing bright red wattles and has long slender black legs. While flying, its wings width up to around two meters. It walks on its two legs however it only stands on one leg. The crested crane stands on one leg meaning that Uganda is moving forward.
A crested crane bird walks with pride, grace and tranquillity. Its minimum life span is about 22 years. They can also live up to about 60years of age. Their eggs hatch in 30 days and the chicks mature in three years after which they go solo to find a partner. It indulges in what humans call a marital relationship with only one partner in life. Literature has it that if one is widowed, they stay single till they die.
What makes a Grey crown crested crane unique?
It has been noted that humans and Crested Cranes can live together as companions. Male cranes and female cranes look alike although males are slightly larger Different people that have interacted with these birds, especially in their home areas of residence, have described Crested Cranes as joyful birds. when a person claps their hands or sings a song, these crested cranes usually dance to it nodding their heads and lifting their long legs as well.
Have you heard of a bird that tells time? Crested Cranes have a sense of time even though they live without clocks. People who have shared the same environment with these birds say that they have specific sounds they make at different times of the day.
Can you dance like a crane? Raise your feet one at a time, bow your head and jump. Do that repeatedly to certain song or sound. Then you have got the basics of the crested crane dance steps. Safari Uganda for a bird watching tour Uganda or Uganda birding safari and encounter with this dancing bird.
Besides all that, Crested Cranes also have tender hearts. They protect fellow birds or animals by scaring away predators that may want to eat other birds or animals. Predators normally run away because of its size.
Despite its beauty and popularity, this National treasure bird spotted on the Uganda flag is a totem of the Royal clan in Rwanda and the National bird of Uganda as well.
Like nature would have it, these beauties are often feasted on by dogs and dreaded by some people who treat them as pests. Rumour has it that if the cops nab someone stoning or having it as a meal they risk ending up behind bars because the other birds follow them up to their home or wherever they run too.
How does a crested crane behave?
Crested Cranes usually live in two-four pairs or in small flocks of 3-15. Two potential partners stay together for life that’s why it’s a symbol of royalty in the Ugandan setting. They normally lay 2-5 eggs and during the hatching time, the female leaves the male and goes to concentrate on hatching its eggs. After hatching, they live together as a family for about a year and they form their family.
These birds are always in a couple. One of the most elegant places where you can see these birds clearly is at lake Bunyonyi as they roam in their natural habitat. It has become an endangered species. Safaris Uganda has enabled tourists to enjoy life with peaceful birds of the nation; Uganda during their bird-watching safaris Uganda.
Where can you find a crested crane?
Crested cranes live in open dry and wet areas, damp fields preferably damp places with short grass. They usually desire wetlands, swampy places, lakeshores, and rivers as well.
What do crested cranes eat?
Crested Cranes feed on insects, snakes, worms, small fish, grass tips, eggs, and peas. Crested Cranes that leave near people’s gardens are often hit for eating peas in their gardens
Why does a crested crane stand on one leg?
Crested Cranes always stand on one leg when resting and fold their leg up so as to keep their bodies warm. They raise their leg up to keep their bodies warm because they smaller bodies with have high temperatures so they have to keep their bodies warm do they don’t lose temperatures easily.
A Crested Crane is friendly, gentle and peace a peace-loving bird. Its nature sweetly matches with that the life of the Ugandan people that’s why it was chosen as a National symbol.
During your Uganda birding safaris tour, Uganda birding tour or birding tour Uganda, you have chances of spotting up to 1072 bird species along your Uganda birding safaris trails including the historic shoebill stork. It is also wise you supplement your birding safari Uganda on your Africa tour with a Uganda wildlife tour, a Uganda gorilla tour or short Uganda gorilla safari, a Uganda chimpanzee trekking safari, Uganda wildlife safaris, Uganda gorilla safaris, Uganda chimpanzee trekking safaris, Uganda hiking safaris, Uganda Rwanda cycling safaris, a Jinja city tour or 1 Day Jinja city tour, a Kampala city tour or a 1-day Kampala city excursion, a Uganda cycling safari depending on your choice of safari in Uganda.
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