I filmed these Blue Cranes (the national Bird of South Africa) while visiting some family on their farm near Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape.
We were quite fortunate to witness the courtship/mating dance beginning to be performed. The male usually starts the dance by jumping up and down flapping his wings, then the female joins in the festivities which culminates in both birds jumping and tossing grass and other plant life into the air. Mating usually starts about two weeks after this dance. I filmed this dance in September and mating typically starts in October, so by now the eggs (usually two) should be laid.
The Blue Crane is a very pale blue, which often looks grey from far. It is quite a distinct, almost regal-looking bird. It has long wing feathers (tertials), which are often mistaken for tail feathers.
What to look out for in this Blue Cranes Birding video:
Blue Cranes starts the dance at: 12 seconds
More Dancing at: 28 seconds
Hear the distinct Blue Crane call at: 19sec, 28sec, 47sec
Most Flamboyant Dancing at: 57 seconds
Blue Crane Size:
They weigh between 3.6kg and 6.2 kg, grow to 100 – 120 cm tall and have a wingspan ranging from 180cm to 200cm.
Blue Crane Diet:
Their diet is primarily based on their location of their nests; so they will feed on what is easily accessible and close to their nests. That being said they will prefer grasshoppers and other large insects, crabs, frogs, snails, lizards and snakes.
Blue Crane Distribution Map (Where it is found)