Graeme Chapman - natural history photographer - ornithologist

Australian Birds

Brolga
Grus rubicunda
(Viewing 4 of 7 photos)

The Brolga is the more widespread and familiar of the only two cranes to inhabit Australia. The very similar Sarus Crane is found only in far NE Queensland but brolgas are found all over eastern and northern Australia and are only absent from the central deserts and south-western Australia. They breed and roost in shallow swamplands and spread out during the day to areas where suitable food exists - the diet is varied and includes vegetative matter, grain and insects.

When breeding, they occur as pairs or family groups, but after the breeding season they wander widely in search of food and may form flocks which have been known to number hundreds but such numbers are rarely seen these days. In NE Qld. Brolgas and Sarus Cranes may occur alongside one another in mixed flocks but usually just the odd Sarus Crane or two amongst many Brolgas.

One of the most distinctive habits of Brolgas is what has been termed "dancing" which may form part of courtship display. Two or sometimes more birds leap up and down, wings outstretched, alternately bowing and sometimes loudly trumpeting.( see pic. 177210D).


Photo: 177001

177001 ... Brolga.

Photo: 177002

177002

Photo: 177203

177203 ... Brolgas (left) and Sarus Cranes (right).

Photo: 177204

177204 ... Adult pair with juvenile (centre) all in step!


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