Blue Crane - International Crane Foundation

International Crane Foundation



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Blue Crane

Anthropoides paradiseus

HEIGHT: 117 cm, 4 ft
WEIGHT: 5.1 kg, 11 lbs
POPULATION: 25,000 – 30,000
TREND: Western Cape population increasing; Karoo and Grasslands populations stable; Namibian population decreasing
STATUS: IUCN: VU; Cites Appendix II; CMS II


Both the Xhosa and Zulu tribes in Africa revere the Blue Crane. Zulu royalty were the only tribe members traditionally allowed to wear Blue Crane feathers, while only Xhosa warriors were permitted to wear Blue Crane feathers into battle.


Adults – Body is silvery bluish gray, black wingtips, extra-long tertial feathers that are dark and dangle nearly to the ground, black legs; juveniles – slightly lighter blue grey feathers.

Download FREE Blue Crane images.


Endemic (only found in a certain region) to southern Africa, with more than 99% of the population occurring within South Africa. A small, disjunct breeding population exists in northern Namibia, in and around Etosha Pan.


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Seeds of sedges and grasses, waste grains, insects and small vertebrates.


Listen to Blue Crane calls:

Guard Call | A sharp, single call expressing alarm.

Unison Call | A duet performed by a pair, to strengthen their bond and protect their territory.


Changes in agriculture practices, power line collisions, human disturbance, unintentional and intentional poisoning, land conversion, live capture and egg collection for commercial trade.


Conserving Blue Cranes on agricultural landscapes in South Africa. We are:

  • Developing and implementing a conservation plan for Blue Cranes, based on a clear understanding of how cranes use the agricultural systems in the Western Cape and the probable impacts of climate change on land use and agricultural practices.
  • Seeking to minimize the impact of mining and other land development on critical Blue Crane breeding and roosting sites.
  • Implementing a media and marketing campaign to honor Blue Cranes as the national bird in South Africa, a designation that will drive public engagement in their protection.


Fight the African Crane Trade.

Become a member of the International Crane Foundation.

Learn more about Blue Cranes:

Mirande CM, Harris JT, editors. 2019. Crane Conservation Strategy. Baraboo, Wisconsin, USA: International Crane Foundation.