a comprehensive resource of avian hand rearing techniques for captive bird populations

Wattled Crane

Bugeranus carunculatus

Gruiformes - Gruidae - Cranes

Wattled Crane - Adults

© Heidi Cline

Wattled Crane - AdultsWattled Crane - Chick

Distribution: Ethiopia, Zaire, Zambia, Tanzania to Botswana and Mozambique. with outlying populations in Angola, Namibia and South Africa.

Habitat: Wetlands.

Diet: Tubers and rhizomes of aquatic vegetation and water-lilies, also insects, snails, frogs and snall vertebrates.

Breeding: Nests in wet grasslands and sedge marshes with open water around nests. Nest consists of wetland vegetation piled into a mound. Nest is 120-180cm in diameter, and situated in water.

Clutch size: Usually 1 egg, sometimes 2.

Incubation: 33 - 36 days

Fledge age: 90-130 days

Maturity: 3-4 years


Protocol from Treehaven Waterfowl Trust, South Africa

View Treehaven Waterfowl Trust, South Africa protocol file >

Protocol established 1992
Used on 16 individuals
Success rate 100.00%


Protocol used for at least 5 individuals with over 75% success*
Used by 2 or more institutions*
Points on minimizing imprinting*
Birds went on to produce fertile eggs 
Birds went on to successfully parent rear 

Warning points
Watch for constipation in chicks up to 7 days of age.

Daily and close observation of leg development is essential.

Please keep us up-to-date and contact us with your own updates or new protocols for rearing the Wattled Crane.


Del Hoya, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. (1996). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol3. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

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