It is a real head turner in this part of the world, with some flocks easily passing a hundred birds. It is more usual to catch sight of a pair, pacing across open fields occasionally with a short tailed youngster in tow. The bubbling call carries for kilometers, and they often call in flight. But it is their courtship displays, so typical of cranes, that really catch the attention. They leap and bound into the air with open wings, bubbling away all the time.
After a transect today near on the western edge of the Baviaanskloof, where Fynbos transitions to Karoo, I decided to spend some time with a pretty pair, and was well rewarded for my patience.
|While there is no way to tell them apart in the field, to me it is the male doing this extra ordinary jump to show off to his female companion. Both sexes jump and call.|
The following demonstrates the stately symmetry that makes these birds so special: