Thursday, 4 May 2017

THE GREY CROWNED CRANE: BIRDS OF UGANDA

ABOUT THE UGANDAN GREY CROWNED CRANES (CRESTED CRANE)
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Grey crowned cranes in Uganda

Known to many as a crested crane, the Uganda's grey crowned crane tops on the agenda for any one longing to have a birding safari in Uganda. Uganda is one of the few countries that is a home and paradise for these beautiful birds.
The crested crane walks with grace and peace, thus ended up being a national symbol for Uganda. It continues to represent Uganda as a peace loving and forward moving country. The Crane was chosen as Uganda’s national emblem nearly a century ago, and therefore continues to surface as one of the most cherished birds in the Pearl of Africa.
This Grey Crowned Crane is scientifically known as Balearica regulorum gibbericeps, lived in Uganda even before many people inhabited the land and forming tribes and different groups of people.

The historical bird that rose to its ample fame in the early 1890s. The crane was chosen and approved as a national badge by His majesty George V and directed the then Sir Frederick a famous ornithologist who had earlier travelled to Uganda, to choose it as a bird of national significance to Uganda,
It now occupies a prime position on the country’s national flag and coat of arms. Yet despite its beauty, importance and popularity, the grey crowned crane is facing the threat of extinction thus more conservation is at its highest peak.
Fredrick always had the amazing cranes at his government House in Entebbe which he could feed from his own hands, carry them and soothe them around like babies.
In Africa, cranes are labelled one of the most beautiful and majestic with high dignity. 
The bird has become extremely endangered in the world, and it’s estimated that only about 10,000 to 20,000 grey crowned cranes are left in Uganda, compared with an estimated 100,000 that lived four decades ago, according to statistics from Nature Uganda and the Ministry of Tourism,Wildlife & Antiquities. 
THE HABITAT OF GREY CROWNED CRANES
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Grey crowned crane

 The beautiful birds in Uganda can be seen flying in the skies,  one can see it abruptly anywhere since they fly from anywhere they want freely. They have adopted human settlement and are therefore embraced in society due to their popularity. Many grey crowned cranes live in mixed wetland habitats, on riverbanks, around dams and open grassland and lately on dry grounds.
 Around gardens of people who live next to wet areas can catch a glimpse of these birds feeding on grass seeds, small toads, frogs, insects, grasshoppers, reptiles other invertebrates and talking water. 
The cranes breed in swamps and usually get in conflict with people who cultivate in such areas, since they feed on the crops, especially ground nuts, millet, etc; hence the reason they are being killed in many areas. 
However, even when they are endangered, Uganda plays its part to conserve them. Since they continue to emerge as objects of great beauty, the tall bird standing, on long-slender black legs and its neck almost as long as its legs with pointed pearl-grey feathers are elongated to form an ornamental fringe. This makes it beautiful, and most importantly, it carries some of Uganda’s chosen colors,- black, yellow and red making it a true national symbol.
For many bird lovers, Uganda is blessed to have the grey crowned cranes and continues to be a Uganda Safari attraction in Africa.

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