Wattled Crane | Bugeranus carunculatus

The Wattled Crane: South Africa's Rarest Wetland Bird

The Wattled Crane is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Gruidae bird family group which includes birds such as Cranes.

The description for the Wattled Crane (Latin name Bugeranus carunculatus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Bugeranus carunculatus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 207 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 311. You will find a picture of the Wattled Crane on page 304.

The Wattled Crane is known as a "lifer" in the birding circles of South Africa.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. The Latin name for this bird is Grus carunculatus in the Roberts 6th Edition.

The Wattled Crane has a height of 175 cms and weighs around 8400 gms. The head is coloured grey while the bill is coloured red. The Bugeranus carunculatus has a white coloured throat, grey legs and a grey coloured back. The eyes are orange.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is grey.

Eyes are orange.

Bill is red.

Legs are grey.

Throat is white.

Back is grey.

Photo's & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult  
Female Adult  
Juvenile  
Non Breeding Plumage N/A

Wattled Crane Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

Wattled Crane Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Wattled Crane is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 2 eggs and they are coloured white.

The bird builds its nest on the ground with figs, straw and leaves. The nest is placed under a bush to protect the young from predators.

The Wattled Crane is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Wattled Crane is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks.