ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Searching For the missing Wattled Crane

Updated on June 29, 2013
Blue Crane-S.A.National Bird
Blue Crane-S.A.National Bird | Source
Grey-crowned Crane
Grey-crowned Crane | Source
Secretary Bird in full breading colors
Secretary Bird in full breading colors | Source
Potholed road to Luneberg-we were warned!
Potholed road to Luneberg-we were warned! | Source
Searching for the Wattled Crane
Searching for the Wattled Crane | Source
A very elegant Malachite Sunbird
A very elegant Malachite Sunbird | Source

Three cranes in South Africa; Blue, Wattled and Grey-crowned

Searching for the third Crane.

As a keen birdwatcher it is always good to complete a full-house of any family of birds. There are only three types of Crane in Southern Africa and we have been fortunate enough to often see and photograph two of them.

The beautiful Grey Crowned Crane is common in the Eastern Cape and so we have often enjoyed seeing them in the fields next to the road. A pair breeds at the Gonubie Nature Reserve nearby and we have been fortunate enough to watch them there with chick in tow. At the nearby Wiggleswade Dam we saw a large group doing a fly-past while we were on a Saturday morning Bird Club outing in that area.

Blue Crane, South Africa’s National Bird, is sometimes found in our area but a trip to the Southern or Western Cape is certain to find these elegant birds feeding in the grass lands near the roads. They often do their dance ritual during the mating season. Sometimes we have seen them with groups of sheep in the Karoo near dams, and they seem to enjoy moving around in large flocks.

The third Southern African Crane is the locally endangered Wattled Crane. According to recent reports in the media, put out by Bird Life South Africa, there are only a few hundred of these Cranes left in our country. They are found in vleis (wetlands) on the highlands. Because these wetland areas are under threat these birds may soon disappear from our country.

On a visit to the USA in 2009 we were fortunate enough to see some Sandhill Cranes in Florida and also a couple of the highly endangered Whooping Cranes in the Arkansas National Reserve on the Gulf Coast. So our world list is growing. Now we want to find our own red listed crane.

Attending a family reunion in Mpumalanga this month has given us the opportunity to spend two nights on the way at Wakkerstroom to look for this third kinds of South African Cranes. This grass highland area is the best place to find the Wattled Cranes, and a bird guide from S.A. Birdlife will hopefully show us where they are.

“Take the road to Luneberg” was the advice from the local representative from Birdlife South Africa,” and if you see one of the farmers in the area they will be pleased to help you as they are very proud of their cranes.” "But watch out the road is very bad!" Advice we followed to the letter. The road was as bad as we had been warned, and the young farmer as helpful as we were advised.

The local bird guide named Lucky was already booked by a group of Swiss birders, but did not live up to his name as we were informed on the road to Luneberg when we met them. “But we did see three Secretary Birds” he informed us with a big smile. So we saved the fee that Lucky got from the Swiss birders who seemed happy enough to see the large Secretary birds and also a beautiful Malachite Sunbird on their return to Wakkerstroom where we again caught up with them outside a park. Here they were taking photos of this green,elegant Sunbird with their big cameras as it fed in an Aloes.

The third Crane species remains open on our “life list” but who knows, one day we may be able to return and complete it.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      5 years ago from East London, South Africa

      You are right we have seen Flamingos in places they have not been for ages.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      In view of what has been happening in the rest of the world, you are likely to see your Wattled Crane where it has never appeared before. Don't overlook that this year.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)