Cranetivities – Wonderous Wattled Cranes

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Welcome to another exciting edition of Cranetivities! This week we spotlight the tallest and rarest crane species in Africa – the Wattled Crane! See last week’s edition of Cranetivities here. 

Activity Description: The Wattled Crane is a distinctlooking bird named for the two skin flaps or “wattles” at the base of its beak. You may be familiawith the bright red wattles on turkeys and chickens, and the wattles on Wattled Cranes are similar. The wattles will change size depending on the mood of the crane – they shrink when they are nervous and elongate when they are excited. These birds are listed as vulnerable throughout their range in Sub-Saharan Africa, and organizations including the International Crane Foundation and our partners the Endangered Wildlife Trust are working to protect this crane in the wild through conservation programs in Ethiopia, South Africa and Zambia. Through this week’s activities, you will learn what makes these birds unique and why their wetland habitats need to be protected.

Grades: 5 to 12 

Time estimate: 1 to 2 hours 

Topics covered: Art, reading and conservation science 

Materials needed: Paper, pencil and coloring utensil of choice 

Adult Involvement: Minimal 

Indoor or Outdoor: Indoor 


How to Draw a Wattled Crane  

Birdorable Wattled Crane Coloring Page  

Endangered Wildlife Trust Wattled Crane Coloring Page  

Johannesburg Zoo Video  

“Cranes, Kafue Lechwe, Communities and Conservation of the Kafue Flats” Webinar 

Wattled Crane Poster 


In partnership with the International Crane Foundation, the Endangered Wildlife Trust has created a wonderful guide on how to draw your very own Wattled Crane! In addition to drawing instructions, the guide also has questions along the way to test your crane knowledge. Turn this into a fun game by quizzing family and friends. You may give out bonus points to whoever draws the best Wattled Crane. For those who would like to create their own crane but prefer coloringthe links below will take you to two different crane coloring pages 

Birdorable Wattled Crane Coloring Page  

Endangered Wildlife Trust Wattled Crane Coloring Page 

After creating a Wattled Crane masterpiece, watch this video from the Johannesburg Zoo in South Africa. This is an informative video detailing Wattled Crane conservation work and how zoos can contribute by creating effective breeding programs with captive crane populations. 

Why is it important that zoos breed endangered animals like Wattled Cranes? 

Are there conservation programs for your favorite animal? Try looking up “[favorite animal] conservation program” onlineAre there any zoos taking part in these conservation programs? How do they contribute?

If you like the last video, check out our webinar Cranes, Kafue Lechwe, Communities and Conservation of the Kafue Flats. In this fascinatinhourlong presentationour staff from Africa go in detail about the conservation actions taking place in the Kafue Flats, where one-third of all Wattled Cranes are found. This webinar would be most appropriate for grades 9+ and adults.[/vc_column_text][vc_tta_accordion][vc_tta_section title=”Webinar Follow-up Questions” tab_id=”1592510213332-6293f5d5-baca”][vc_column_text]How many bird species have been recorded on the Kafue Flats? 

Name three benefits of protecting wetlands such as the Kafue Flats 

Why is Mimosa pigra detrimental to the Wattled Crane’s habitat? [/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Answer Key” tab_id=”1592510213288-6790c955-82e2″][vc_column_text]More than 470 bird species 

Any of the benefits seen at minutes 10:44, 27:22, or 41:26 in the video.

Mimosa pigra is an invasive species and takes over very quickly. It is prickly and thorny, so animals cannot live in it. This ultimately leads to loss of important Wattled Crane habitat. [/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][/vc_tta_accordion][vc_column_text]Now that your head is filled with Wattled Crane knowledge, feel free to download and print this free poster so you can proudly display your love of Wattled Cranes in your room or workspace!

Got feedback? We would love to hear your thoughts on our educational resources. This survey will allow you to provide feedback on our Cranetivities series. If you have used any of our other educational resources, like our From the Field series or our online activity packets, you may provide feedback on those resources here. You may also email us at info@savingcranes.org if you have questions or comments for us, or would like to share photos of you and your kids’ Wattled Crane creations! We will see you next week for a new edition of Cranetivities! [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]