Scientific Name:
Anthropoides paradisea

Conservation Status:

Where to see them:
African Plains

Fun Facts:

  • The long black “tail” feathers are actually wing feathers.
  • The blue crane is the national bird of South Africa.
  • Zoo Atlanta’s male was hatched 1982, and the female hatched in 1984. 

 Blue Crane

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Height is 56 inches; weight is 8 to 10 pounds.

South Africa

Blue cranes inhabit grasslands in upland areas during breeding season and grasslands and croplands at lower elevations in winter.

Blue cranes are found in the great grasslands of southern Africa. They usually winter in agricultural areas and are much persecuted for the damage they do to crops. Poisoning is a very common cause of death, even though the bird is protected by law.


Diet is mostly grass seeds and insects. Chicks are initially insectivorous and eat more grasses as they grow.

Life Cycle
Blue cranes mature at about 4 years old. Pairs are monogamous with long-term pair bonds. The nest is almost non-existent, usually just a few small sticks pulled together.  Nests are usually situated within 100 yards of water. Females lay two eggs, which hatch after 30 days. The parents initially feed the chicks by offering small food items in the tips of their beaks. Within days, the chicks are self-feeding. Chicks grow very fast and can fly at 3 months old.

Some of My Neighbors (IN THE WILD)
Springbok antelope, crowned cranes, storks, flamingos

Population Status & Threats
Blue cranes are primarily threatened by loss of habitat and deliberate poisoning on their winter feeding grounds.