Graeme Chapman - natural history photographer - ornithologist

Australian Birds

Sarus Crane
Grus antigone
(Viewing 4 of 4 photos)

Sarus Cranes are restricted to far north-east Queensland, north of the Burdekin River to most of Cape York and west across the base of the Gulf. Their presence in Australia wasn't even known until the 1960's and it has been suggested they may be relatively recent arrivals to our shores because they are quite widespread throughout the Middle-east. However their core range was, until the 1960's probably an area seldom visited by bird watchers and so they could easily have been overlooked. Even now, up there, you have to carefully scrutinise quite a few Brolgas before you'll see a Sarus Crane because they occur in mixed flocks and only separate out in the breeding season.

Sarus Cranes breed in the wet season, a time when the region around the SE of the Gulf is often flooded and difficult of access, including The Staaten River National Park which is one of their principal breeding areas. After the breeding season they disperse, often as trios, two adults with young at foot and in the vicinity of Normanton and Burketown, they often occur. Even later in the dry season larger flocks are known to congregate to roost, in particular a well-known site on the Atherton Tableland is at Bromfield Swamp where a viewing platform has been erected.

Photo: 898001

898001 ... Sarus Cranes, note the pink legs, a good field mark.

Photo: 898202

898202 ... Sarus Crane in front, Brolga behind - a good comparison.

Photo: 898203

898203 ... Sarus Crane

Photo: 898204-D

898204-D ... Sarus Crane

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