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Back 24 / 06 / 2011

Wattled crane brings the total bird species to the 1040 mark in Uganda

For the first time ever, a wattle crane has been spotted in Uganda.  It was seen at the Kibimba Rice region on the eastern side of the country.  This sighting brings the total number of bird species in Uganda to 1040 – this is more than the US and European bird numbers.  Although it is not sure whether the wattled crane will establish themselves as a species in Uganda, conservationists are hoping for the best. 

The wattled crane is the largest crane in Africa and the second largest in the world.  It has a wingspan of 260 centimetres, a length of 1.2 metres and can weigh up to 9 kilograms.  They have a complex courtship dance that involves bowing, tossing of the head, jumping and a lot of vocalisation. The wattled crane  has an average lifespan of twenty to thirty years in the wild. They are found mainly in southern Africa, however, there are isolated numbers living in the highlands of Ethiopia.  There are an estimated 8000 of these birds worldwide and more than half of these can be found in Zambia.  The largest single concentration is in the Okavango delta in Botswana

They preferred diet is tubers, water lilies, insects and frogs.  It usually submerges its entire head into the water when feeding. They are considered a vulnerable species and their main threats are power line collisions, human and livestock disturbance and expansion which is a threat to its wetland habitat, aerial spraying of crops and tsetse tsetse flies and the illegal collection of eggs and chicks by humans for food.

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