Grus paradiseus   Blue Crane  Bloukraanvoël
Blue Crane
Alma, Jul 2020

A breeding resident. There is an isolated population of this species in the Waterberg, the numbers of which vary from year to year between 32-71 birds. As the map shows, they are largely confined to the southern third of the Waterberg, occurring mostly along the Alma trough and in the seasonal wetlands along the top of the Sandriviersberg. Found in pairs in summer when they breed, they congregate in winter into one or two flocks on the irrigation farms in the Alma area. The winter flocks are monitored annually by LEDET staff and in 2019 their numbers totalled 50 birds; in 2020 there were 57 present. Forty two chicks were colour-ringed in the early 2000s and these have given some insight into the movements and longevity of this population. The green/orange ringed bird in the photo below was ringed as a chick near Trichardtspas in 2004 and it was still with the winter flock 16 years later in 2020. The yellow/green ringed bird below arrived from Belfast, Mpumalanga in 2020, ringed there as a chick in 2005. Three of the Waterberg-ringed chicks left the area, one recovered after hitting power-lines near Newcastle, KZN, and two resighted in 2014 near Devon, Gauteng. (Information with thanks to Joseph Heymans).
Blue Crane
Alma, Jul 2020
Blue Crane Waterberg distribution
Blue Crane
Alma, Jul 2020

Two colour-ringed birds in the winter flock near Alma, see details above
Blue Crane
Alma, Oct 2019
Blue Cranes in flight
Alma, Oct 2019

The 50 birds flying here (with a single Wattled Crane at the top of the photo) probably comprise the entire Waterberg population
in 2020.
Blue Crane
Dinaka, Jan 2019
Blue Crane
Alma, Aug 2004
Blue Crane flock
Alma, Jun 2018

Part of a group of 20 birds in the Alma wintering area. The colour-ringed bird on the right (now 14 years old) was ringed as a chick in Feb 2004 about 20 km west of this spot.
Blue Crane
Alma, Aug 2007
Blue Crane nest
Welgevonden, Oct 2008
Blue Crane eggs
Alma, Sep 2007

tuis       home      bird list      next