Monday, January 23, 2012

African Grey Crowned Crane

This lovely fellow is an African grey crowned crane.

Their range stretches from the Congo and Kenya all the way south to southeastern South Africa.  Despite their substantial territorial range, their habitat is becoming threatened by over-grazing from cattle and other farming as well as environmental and other issues stemming therefrom like overuse of toxic pesticides and fertilizers which threaten reproduction and drainage issues which threaten traditional marshy and other habitats.

Here's another view:

And here is another up close shot of that beautiful top crown that he has -- it glistens in the sunlight, but I'm not certain how well you can see that in these photos.

There were a number of these beautiful birds in the savannah area outside our room in the Kidani Village section of the Animal Kingdom Lodge, where we stayed during our trip to Walt Disney World.   If you are looking for a relaxing place to park yourself when you aren't in the theme parks themselves, this is a fabulous choice.

One of the cooler things was  that there was a close-up viewing area where the birds would come quite close up to the fence and to the sit-down restaurant there whose windows overlook the savannah as well.  The food at Sanaa is a melange of Indian, Asian and African influenced meats, breads and vegetarian dishes.  We ate there one afternoon and loved it -- the food was amazing, and the view was lovely and kept The Peanut interested through the entire meal.

I snapped this picture of the crowned crane feeder that was nearby -- other birds on the savannah could not get to this feeder because they were too large to pass through the fence, so the cranes would periodically strut to the feeder to partake deliberately in front of the ostriches and storks nearby.  Here's a picture of one of the cranes at the feeder -- they seemed to eat here one at a time and not in groups, for some reason:

(All photos by Christy Hardin Smith.)

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