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Black Crowned Crane - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies ceciliae
Photo by volker sthamer
Lake Ziway, Ethiopia, February 2017
Balearica pavonina


Subspecies pavonina
Photo by Steve G
Pirang, Western Division, The Gambia, November 2005

100–105 cm (39½-41½ in); Sexes similar

  • Mostly black body
  • White upper and under wing coverts
  • crown of stiff golden feathers
  • Red and white cheek patches

West African subspecies

  • Lower half of the cheek patch is red

Sudan subspecies

  • The red extends into the upper half of the cheek patch.
  • Gular sac under the chin is small and dark. The gular sac is similar to a wattle, except that it can be inflated.
  • Legs, toes, and bill are black


  • Blackish, upper body feathers are edged rufous
  • Lower body feathers are sandy buff
  • Brown nape
  • Face is feathered and buffy
  • Crown is spiky and golden buff.

Similar Species

Subspecies pavonina
Photo by Steve G
Ka-ur wetlands, The Gambia, November 2005

Grey Crowned-Crane


Sub-Saharan Africa:
Western Africa: Mauritania, Senegambia, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo (Eastern part), Angola
Eastern Africa: Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya




Freshwater marshes, wetter grasslands, and the edges of water bodies.



Its circular nest platform is built from grasses and sedges within or along the edges of densely vegetated wetlands. The clutch consist of 2-5 eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 28-31 days.


Their diet consists of insects, such as grasshoppers and flies. Invertebrates include molluscs, millipedes, crustaceans and fish. Grass and grass seeds are also included.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. International Crane Foundation

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.