Wattled Cranes

Wattled Cranes, Botswana

Wattled Cranes, Botswana

We came across these beautiful Wattled Cranes on safari in the Okavango Delta region of Botswana.  With a Conservation Status listing as “Vulnerable,” we were delighted to find a trio wading in a shallow pond.


The largest crane in Africa (and second tallest in the world to the Sarus Crane), Bugeranus carunculatus can be found in sub-Saharan Africa.  They are named for the wattles, or fleshy appendages, that hang down from the throat.  A five foot tall bird with a wingspan of eight feet, they have a commanding presence.


Wattled cranes prefer to eat aquatic tubers and rhizomes, as well as aquatic insects, snails and amphibians; and are consequently found in marsh-like settings.  90% of foraging is done in shallow waters where they dig vigorously with their long bill.


Our safari vehicle was quiet and solo when we came upon these cranes several hundred feet away.  Although we were in this area for a week, we never saw this species again.  We were lucky that they stayed for a few minutes and allowed us to admire them.


Photo credit:  Athena Alexander

32 thoughts on “Wattled Cranes

    • One of my favorite things about birding is learning attentiveness; because the bird will fly away, and it’s usually pretty quickly. You know that I’m sure, Janet, with hummingbirds, the quickest of all birds. Many thanks for your kind comments. 😀

  1. I love to see wading birds of all kinds and even more to photograph them! Thanks for the nice post Jet! You were fortunate to see them! 🙂

    • It IS tall for a bird, and I so love that color combination. I sometimes fashion my garments and color combinations from my favorite birds (a secret, Amy), and I wore a lot of gray, black, red and white after coming upon these beauties. Always a treat to have you visit dear Amy. 😀

    • It was tricky to get a photo of them with their heads up, because they were almost always digging in the mud. Always a treat to receive your comment, Sue — thanks so much! 🙂

  2. Beatiful birds Jet Dear! You were so lucky you had the chance to come across with this wonderful couple.I clicked the fabulous image to enlarge it and I was astonished by the details on the plumage,legs and heads.Presumably,their wattle is the red patch near the neck.They both look great against the bright blue waters.Enjoy your day my dearest friend ! Warm hugs to you & Athena 🙂 xxx

    • I’m glad you enlarged the photo, Doda, for their faces are awesome! Yes, you found the wattle. Thank you so much, dear Doda, for taking the time to adventure with Athena and I into the watery world of the Okavango Delta, I am so very glad you enjoyed it. 😀 😀

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