Wattled Cranes

Summary

Conservation Status:  IUCN: VU; Cites Appendix II; CMS II,  (The South African population is considered genetically distinct from populations further north and in the light of the dramatic decline of the South African population between the 1970's and 1990, coupled with the species very low reproductive potential (the lowest of all cranes) the local population is regarded as Critically Endangered).

Identification: Very large 1.20 -1.75 m, 7.5 - 8.4 kg (the largest African crane). Sexes alike in plumage. Neck white, back grey, belly black, wattles white. Iris orange, bill reddish brown, legs and feet black. bare facial skin red.

Distribution: Africa from Ethiopia, south in patches, through Zambia Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Botswana to South Africa. In South Africa in a narrow discontinuous belt  running from Mpumalanga, to KZN midlands to north western Eastern Cape. 

Population: Overall African population under 8,000. South African population approximately 300 individuals.

Main threats: Habitat loss, power-line collisions, burning of wetlands in winter, accidental or deliberate poisoning, chick removal by humans.

Conservation Objectives: Maintenance of undisturbed, pristine to semi-pristine high altitude wetland and grassland area located on privately own farmland. Incorporating local communities and landowners in maintaining sufficient crane-friendly habitat.