29th of August 2014 – Species Spotlight – White Naped Crane

This week the spotlight falls on one of our tallest inhabitants

 

White Naped Crane

Grus vipio

White Naped Crane (17)

White Naped Cranes are native to parts of Russia, Mongolia and China, where they breed. They migrate as far a field as Korea, Japan & Taiwan.  They tend to favour areas of wetlandNumbers are in decline due to hunting & habitat loss and they are listed as vulnerable with less than 5 and a half thousand birds left in the wild.

As with all cranes, they are a large animal reaching up to 4 feet tall and weighing over 5 kilo.  Long legs show that they spend a lot of the time on the ground.  The sexes look alike, with males slightly taller than females.

They will feed on a range of diets, including aquatic plants, seeds, tubers, insects and small animals.  They use their long bill to probe muddy areas to find food.

Pairs bond for live and bonds are reaffirmed with a series of coordinated calls. Females then initiate the display with a series of head bobs. Dancing follows with high leaps into the air, wing flaps and running

White Naped Crane (1)

Nests are built on the ground as a mound of vegetation. 2 eggs are laid and incubated for 30 days with both parents taking turns to brood. The eggs are dark and mottled to camouflage from greedy eyes.

White Naped Crane eggs

The chicks hatch out a yellowish/brown colour and are mobile pretty quickly. Both parents will attend the young and feed them and they fledge at 7 months, becoming capable of breeding at 2 to 3 years of age.

 

We currently house a pair of White Naped Crane. They produce eggs every year but we have never had a fertile one yet. We have discussed trying artificial insemination in the future to get this endangered bird to breed.

 

 

In park news this week it has been very quiet. The Bank Holiday was a wash out, with heavy rain all day. No one has laid eggs, been moved or had chicks so it’s a very brief news summary this week

The wet weather has meant that lots of toads have been seen this week. A young Grass Snake was spotted by a member of the public and a Poplar Hawkmoth Caterpillar has been seen

 

Thanks for reading

 

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