• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Wattled Crane - BirdForum Opus

Bugeranus carunculatus
Photo © by safariranger
Bangweulu Swamps, Zambia, July 2006


Photo © by charelli
Botswana, May 2018

175 cm (69 in)

  • Ash grey back and wings
  • Dark slaty gray crown
  • Rest of head, throat and breast white
  • White feathered wattles
  • Black primaries, secondaries, and tail-coverts
  • Red skin in front of the eye, base of beak and wattle tips
  • Long bill
  • Black legs and toes

Sexes identical (males inclined to be slightly larger)


Patchily distributed north-eastern and southern Africa
Western Africa: DRC and Angola
Eastern Africa: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi
Southern Africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho

Seems to be rather scarce in most of the area.


This is a monotypic species[1].

Grus vs. Bugeranus

Sibley & Monroe (1996) place the Wattled Crane (carunculatus) in the genus Grus. However, Howard & Moore (2003) and Clements (2007) separate it in the monotypic genus Bugeranus, and the Opus follows in this consensus.


Shallow wetlands, freshwater marshes and adjoining grassland.



The diet includes tubers, bulbs and corms of aquatic vegetation; insects, seeds, leaves, acorns and grain.


They breed according to the rains and may build more than one nest - up to four. They will use one nest one year and another the next. The clutch has only 1 egg.

Description including photos of courtship is found in a Birdforum thread[3].


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Post in Birdforum thread with description of courtship behavior
  4. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1