Wattled Crane

Rarest African Crane

Named for the white wattles that dangle from its throat, the wattled crane is the largest and rarest of the African crane species. The wattled crane is found in eleven Sub-Saharan countries in Africa, with more than half of the population found in Zambia. This wetland-dependent bird is an important indicator species for assessing changes in wetland hydrology. Unfortunately, like most threatened species, loss of habitat and degradation of their critical wetlands are threatening their continued survival. Furthermore, these cranes have low breeding success, making proactive conservation a priority.

Conservation in Action

The status and distribution of the wild wattled cranes in Africa is closely linked to the health and management of wetland systems, since they are reliant upon annual river basin flood plains. Currently, conservation actions consist of establishment of key protected areas of wetlands throughout their range and ongoing surveys and nest monitoring. Breeding programs have been established around the world, and it has been determined that they have low fertility rates.
For the Conservation Centers for Species Survival (C2S2), the priority is to bolster reproduction of the wattled crane to achieve a demographically and genetically stable population. C2S2 is collaborating with the AZA Gruiformes Taxon Advisory Group and the Wattled Crane Species Survival Plan to create a sustainable population that contributes to the knowledge base for their ongoing conservation. Learn more about C2S2’s Crane Sustainability Program