Blue Crane (Anthropoides paradiseus).
The Blue Crane used to nest on my old farm, where I managed to capture them on film (I mean old time photographs), these I lost when our house was flooded and everything went floating down the river.
The photos I captured recently in a conservation area, a beautiful bird that stands proudly, till a parachutist flies overhead. I was astounded when these birds standing calmly started to get very agitated and were watching the sky. Expecting to capture an eagle of sorts I looked up, and there was this person floating past with a parachute. Where he came from, and where he went, I have no idea..
The Blue Crane is a tall, ground-dwelling bird, but is fairly small by the standards of the crane family. It is 100–120 cm (3 ft. 3 in–3 ft. 10 in) tall, with a wingspan of 180–200 cm (5 ft. 10 in–6 ft. 7 in) and weighs 3.6–6.2 kg (7.9–14 lb.).
This crane is pale blue-grey in colour becoming darker on the upper head, neck and nape. The bill is ochre to greyish, with a pink tinge. The long wingtip feathers, trail to the ground. The primaries are black to slate grey, with dark coverts and blackish on the secondary’s. Unlike most cranes, it has a relatively large head and a proportionately thin neck.
In South Africa it has a Cultural history…
The Blue Crane is a bird very special to the amaXhosa, who call it indwe. When a man distinguished himself by deeds of valour, or any form of meritorious conduct, he was often decorated by a chief, being presented with the feathers of this bird. After a battle, the chief would organise a ceremony called ukundzabela – a ceremony for the heroes, at which feathers would be presented. Men so honoured, wore the feathers sticking out of their hair, were known as men of ugaba (trouble) – the implication being that if trouble arose, these men would reinstate peace and order. The Skull Crackers….
A blue crane! Wow, what a beautiful bird! I did not know about this bird either. I am quite fond of the red headed crane with its significant meaning in japanese (and other asian) cultures.
You are fortunate to be able to witness and photograph such a wide variety of birds and wildlife!
I know how lucky I am and always have been… grew up amid all the wild life… it has been great…
Another beautiful bird. Fantastic photos. I love how you give us information about your birds – I would never have known any of this without your info.
I have often wondered if the readers out there are interested in this type detail… us not all being birders… but I thought for those that are.. put it in ….the others will just skip it… Glad you enjoy the few details….
these are awesome
A beautiful bird…. thank you Joanna…
Why do I think of Leslie Caron when I see these pictures? 😉
The bird does have a “gaminlike” appearance, a word I think used to describe her… looking at older photos of her when she was younger… I do see a certain likeness… almost regal..
Now that is an AWESOME bird!!! Gorgeous images…the men of ugaba….very cool! Thanks for this 🙂
One could start a story of “the men from umgubaba” with their blue crane feathers…. but best is lets not get started on that I’ve got too much work to do today… It is an awesome bird… thank you, for the complement … coming from you it is high praise… Mrs Professional photographer…
Hahahaha….Here I am…..barely able to keep my eyes open and you made me laugh yet again!
I can see why the amaXhosa would want to use the feathers – that are so beautiful. Great pics!
Thanks so much… and to think the feathers dragging on the ground are actually their wing tips….
Love these beautiful birds. they are so graceful, and look like they’re dancing when they walk. They probably though the parachutist was another type of bird they hadn’t seen before. 🙂 Great photos again.
The parachute canopy was a red striped one… they probably though they had a new type eagle descending on them…. they are such lovely birds… now my next ambition is to capture their mating dance…..
Are you as close to those beautiful birds as the photos indicate? Or do you have a powerful zoom lens? One thing I love about these cranes is the feeling of calm they convey.
I was in a hide and at one stage could have put my hand out and touched them…. they are to me so poised and regal… slowly moving around like the Queen… you almost expect them to wave royally to you…
Splendido questo uccello, non l’avevo mai visto. Le foto sono spettacolari, che meraviglia
Thank you so much.. I’m glad you find the birds so fantastic or splendid… they have a very regal and confident air about them… hanno un aria molto regale e fiducioso su di loro….
As usual, you have a way of capturing beauty … on one leg my fav.
By the way, we went to the zoo this weekend, and I thought of you when a rhino got into a stare-down with us.
That stare can be like looking at a bully… is he gonna hit me or not… the other day when photoing the rhinos doing battle… they would get too close to the car and I would start the engine… they would stop and stare at me, now you wonder are they going to charge??… will my car be fast enough to get away?? and it’s at that time you want to take the shot but daren’t in-case you have 4 tons bearing down from 10 m (30ft) away…
Fortunately, I had separation … but in the wild, I imagine one has to be wise.
beautiful! 1 and 2 look like they could be models for a Japanese painting. The last photo really captures the essence of this beautiful bird.
Thank you … it is a beautiful subject to capture… went to have a quick look again at 1 and 2… yes I agree…
I love these pictures!
when I go to Sardinia, I love to watch flamingos, but I maia vito fotuna to photograph the heart so … congratulations … you’re very good …. and they are beautiful birds ….
do you have some flamingo?? 🙂
Grazie mille …yes we do have flamingo.. but not close to where I live….
You are very gracious with your comments…Sei molto gentile con i tuoi commenti…
That it is.. thank you
A very graceful looking bird and I love the accompanying narrative!
Thanks Diana… a truly lovely bird with a long history in South Africa…
They have very friendly faces. Love the photo’s 🙂
Thank you… they do look friendly…
Such beautiful and graceful birds! Lovely shots bulldog.
Thanks so much… very graceful, regal and almost uppity…
What a beautiful bird! Are they all banded?
Many of the birds are banded at birth to be able to keep tags and build up data on their movements…. so many meet their demise from flying into power lines.. and the necessary body can then trace their beginning and end… they are a protected specie and climbing on the IRDL (International Red Data List)
It seems incredible that there are so few left that most newborns can be tagged. Oh dear.
Aw…how grand that they hold such a place of honour. I think I’ve seen men in Nat. Geographic with the feathers sticking out of their hair. Little did I realize the significance! Thank you so much for this great photo essay.
Thank you so much… I’m not sure the tradition continues today as the bird is protected… getting a bit deeper into the Red Data list… not from the tribes, but as they enjoy the open plains, they tend not to see the massive power lines erected in what must appear to them, as ideal landing spots…
This is so interesting and what a beautiful bird. Your photos are fantastic!
Thanks Julie… it has a regal quality and a certain look of distinction…