Family Cranes (Gruidae)


Wattled Crane (Bugeranus carunculatus)


French: Grue caronculée German: Klunkerkranich Spanish: Grulla carunculada

Ardea carunculata

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa


Has been considered congeneric with Leucogeranus leucogeranus alone, on basis of some morphological and behavioural similarities, but molecular evidence has revealed deep distinctiveness of latter#R. Three main populations, but not considered subspecifically distinct. Monotypic.


Ethiopia; Tanzania, DRCongo, E Angola, Zambia, and Malawi#R to Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique, with outlying populations in S Angola, N Namibia and E South Africa.

Descriptive notes

c. 175 cm; male 8300–8500 g, female 7100–7900 g; wingspan 230–260 cm. Only African crane with white neck; prominent wattles, mostly white with some red skin... read more


High-pitched piercing calls.


The most wetland-dependent of all African cranes. The bulk of the population frequents large... read more

Food and feeding

Primarily tubers and rhizomes of aquatic vegetation, e.g. Cyperus, Eleocharis dulcis and water-lilies (Nymphaea... read more


Season highly variable, depending on water levels: mainly Jul–Aug in Ethiopia; mainly Apr–Oct in S populations. Nests typically... read more


Most are irregularly nomadic in response to water availability rather than migratory.... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. CITES II. Global population in the order of 6000–8000 individuals (2004 estimate). A marked and continuing decline witnessed since mid 1980s–1990s,... read more

Recommended citation

Archibald, G.W., Meine, C.D. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Wattled Crane (Bugeranus carunculatus). 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 23 February 2020).