Wattled Crane/ Lelkraanvoel/ Begeranus carunculatus
The Wattled Crane is uncommon to a rare resident that is listed as a Critically Endangered bird species in South Africa.
The main threats to Wattled Crane populations are wetland degradation and agricultural impact on adjacent lands.
Currently, it is estimated that there are only 4 pairs of breeding Wattled Cranes in the Mpumalanga Province.
We are lucky enough to have at least one of these pairs in the Dullstroom district.
Wattled Cranes are found in Eastern, Central, and Southern Africa.
In Southern Africa, the main concentrations are found in North East Namibia, Northern Botswana, North East Zimbabwe, Central Mozambique and the Eastern Part of South Africa.
In South Africa, they are found in Mpumalanga south to the Eastern Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and the eastern part of the Eastern Cape.
It has been estimated that there are only around 250 birds in South Africa.
In South Africa, the breeding pairs are sedentary on small permanent wetlands with single birds floating sometimes hundreds of kilometers from the breeding sites.
Wattled Cranes prefer fairly shallow wetlands with extensive short, emergent vegetation, especially sedges.
Wattled Cranes spend much of the day foraging. They are predominantly tactile foragers, digging with the beak in moist soil. They also forage grassland habitats surrounding wetlands, especially in the dry season. Food consist of small aquatic snails, fish, and frogs as well as grass seeds.
They are monogamous, solitary nesters with territories that can be as big as 80HA, the nest is a mound of aquatic vegetation collected from the immediate vicinity. The nest is typically surrounded by a ring of open water, either natural or formed by trampling and collection of nesting material, they sometimes reuse old nests but often build new nests close to the previous nest site. Normally 1-2 eggs are laid, incubation lasts 31-40 days and the eggs are incubated by both sexes.
As previously mentioned the Wattled Cranes are listed as critically endangered in Southern Africa.
Wetland destruction and degradation are of most concern, most serious threats are damming, draining, overgrazing, trampling, too frequent and inappropriate timed burning and erosion to mention a few.
If you would like to visit the area for the Wattled Cranes make sure to contact me as I have access to private properties that they frequent during the summer months.
Also, support the Greater Lakenvlei Protected Area where they are nesting
Information provided by Roberts Birds of Southern Africa
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.