The Gray-crowned Crane of Uganda – one of the most beautiful and majestic birds in Africa found in Uganda where it is also the National symbol and the national bird of Uganda. This elegant bird moves in grace in a most stately way with a very dignified gate. If you see the gray crowned crane in flight it is simply beautiful to behold with its slow down strokes of the wings followed by quick flicking upward strokes.
The grey crowned cranes have a crest crown made up of stiff golden feathers – the sounds of the crested cranes can be heard over a wide distance. Crested Cranes use their strong bills to dig into the soil in search of roots and bulbs beneath the surface of the ground. One of the most beautiful to behold is the gray crowned crested cranes very elaborate mating ritual. It is a most beautiful display of grace, strength and power amazing visitors who have the privilege to view this ritual as the court their lifelong partners and the courting dance is not a one time event for a pair of cranes – it continuous throughout their relationship.
At one time there were over 50,000 gray crowned crested cranes found in Uganda to the present number of 20,000 this is due to the elimination of their habitats which often border various wetlands. Encroachment, land converted to farming, villagers building their homes where the Crested Crane formerly dwelt all have resulted in lower numbers of gray crowned crested cranes in Uganda where it is a crime to harm one – since it is the symbol of a Nation – the Pearl of Africa – Uganda.
Not only is the Gray Crowned Crane diminishing in numbers due to encroachment but the wrong beliefs by witch doctors also called traditional healers in Africa, on top of that there are commercial poachers that keep contributing to the decline of the birds in Uganda.
Dead Cranes can be found in the shrines of these witch doctors who teach that because the crested cranes mate for life, consuming their eggs, love potions made up of various crested crane parts will keep a relationship together the crested crane is also seen as a good sign to keep evil spirits away from children. Efforts are now underway to change such a wrong mindset about the gray crested crane, protect various habitats and hopefully the crested crane will be much more than a symbol on the flag of Uganda….