Wild Birds

Black Crowned Crane

The Black Crowned Crane, also known as the West African Crowned Crane (Balearica pavonina pavonina) is a bird in the crane family Gruidae. It was once called also Kaffir Crane

This species and the closely related Grey Crowned Crane, B. regulorum, which prefers wetter habitats for foraging, are the only cranes that can nest in trees. This habit, amongst other things, is a reason why the relatively small Balearica cranes are believed to closely resemble the ancestral members of the Gruidae.

Distribution / Range

It occurs in dry savannah in Africa south of the Sahara, although in nests in somewhat wetter habitats.

It is endangered, especially in the west, by habitat loss and degradation.


There are two races

  • B. p. pavonina in the west, and
  • the more numerous B. p. ceciliae in East Africa.

Diet / Feeding

Like all cranes, the Black Crowned Crane eats insects, reptiles, and small mammals.


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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