National bird

Blue crane
Anthropoides paradisia

This elegant crane, that stands about one meter high, is almost entirely restricted to South Africa in its distribution. The blue crane is a light blue-grey, has a long neck supporting a rather bulbous head, long legs and elegant wing plumes which sweep to the ground. It eats seeds, insects and reptiles. Blue cranes lay their eggs in the bare veld, often close to water. They are quite common in the Karoo, but are also seen in the grasslands of KwaZulu-Natal and the highveld, usually in pairs or small family parties.

The blue crane has a distinctive rattling croak, fairly high-pitched at call, which can be heard from far away. It is, however, usually quiet.

The habitat of the blue crane is open grass fields or Karoo-like plains with low shrubby bushes. It likes wet parts and lays its eggs on the ground. It grazes in the field and eats seeds, insects and small reptiles.


Brownell, FG, Nasionale en Provinsiale Simbole. 1993. Johannesburg: Chris van Rensburg Publications.
Newman, K, Birdlife in Southern Africa. 1971. Johannesburg. Purnell & Sons SA (Pty) Ltd

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