The Blue Crane (Grus paradisea) is a large wetlands bird. It is also known as the Stanley Crane or the Paradise Crane.
The Blue Crane has pale blue-grey feathers that are darker on its upper head, neck, and nape. Its beak is greyish pink. It has long wingtip feathers that trail on the ground. It has grey-black wing feathers.
It grows to 100-120 centimetres (39-47 inches) tall, with a wingspan of 180-200 centimetres (71-79 inches).
The Blue Crane is native to South Africa. It prefers dry grassy uplands, pastured grasses, and plains with few trees. It nests in uplands and wetlands.
It is terrestrial, living on the ground. It feeds on the ground on grasses and sedges, as well as insects. Sometimes, it eats crabs, snails, frogs, small lizards, and snakes.
The Blue Crane is partially social. There is a strict hierarchy in groups, with the larger adult males being dominant.
The female lays two eggs. Both the male and the female will incubate (sit on the eggs), with the male often incubating at night and the female incubating during the day. The eggs hatch after around 30 days.
The young are able to walk after two days and can swim soon after hatching. The mother mainly feeds the chicks. She regurgitates food into their mouths. The chicks fledge (develop their flight feathers) after about 3–5 months.
Location of photographs: Paris Zoo, France
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM