Family Cranes (Gruidae)


Grey Crowned-crane (Balearica regulorum)


French: Grue royale German: Südafrikanischer Kronenkranich Spanish: Grulla coronada cuelligrís
Other common names: Southern Crowned-crane, East African Crowned-crane (gibbericeps), South African Crowned-crane (regulorum)

Anthropoïdes Regulorum

E. T. Bennett

, 1834,

South Africa


Formerly considered conspecific with B. pavonina (lumped species sometimes erroneously listed as B. regulorum), but differences revealed by electrophoresis, together with those in vocalizations, bare parts and plumage, as well as in genetic evidence#R#R, advocate recognition of two species. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. r. gibbericeps Reichenow, 1892 – Uganda and Kenya S to N Zimbabwe and N Mozambique.
  • B. r. regulorum (E. T. Bennett, 1834) – S Angola and N Namibia E through Botswana to Zimbabwe, then S to SE South Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    100–110 cm; 3000–4000 g; wingspan 180–200 cm. Iris pale grey to pale blue. Shares distinctive crown of yellow feathers with B. pavonina; differs in... read more


    Calls are mellow honks, generally low-pitched.


    Mixture of wetlands and open grassland or savanna. In E Africa, now found mostly in human-modified... read more

    Food and feeding

    Generalist. Feeds on seed heads (e.g. of Cyperus sedges) and fresh tips of grasses; insects, including grasshoppers, crickets,... read more


    Season variable in response to rains: all year round in E Africa, with peaks during drier periods; in drier portions of S Africa, breeds... read more


    Non-migratory. Variable local and seasonal movements depending on abundance and distribution of... read more

    Status and conservation

    ENDANGERED. CITES II. Most abundant African crane; over 90% are race gibbericeps. Conservation status changed recently since overall estimates suggest that global... read more

    Recommended citation

    Archibald, G.W., Meine, C.D. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Grey Crowned-crane (Balearica regulorum). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 January 2020).