Trumpeting Sarus Crane (Grus antigone)   6 comments

Trumpeting Sarus Crane (Grus antigone)

This was a lifer for me (birders’ term for the first sighting of a bird species). And I waded through wet paddy fields to get close to this male bird. In hindsight it was maybe not the smartest of things to do as these fields are known to be infested with leeches and more importantly snakes. Luckily there was no mishap.

It all started when I reached Bharatpur, which is arguably India’s bird watching capital, this october. To my dismay, these cranes, which are resident breeders in India, were no where to be seen within the Keoladeo National Park. A local guide agreed to take me to the nearby paddy fields, outside the park, so that I could sight them. And with some luck and pluck, I managed to see four of these large cranes.

Sarus cranes have a distinctive grey body with a red neck and orange iris and bare pink legs. And they are the largest extant flying birds in the world. Sarus are widely believed to pair for life though cases of “divorce” has also been recorded 🙂 They are omnivorous and spend time primarily around wetlands including paddy fields.

The destruction of natural wetlands are a serious threat to these majestic birds and approximately less than 20,000 survive in the wild – a bulk of these in India. These birds were (and still are) revered in India, but during the British occupation of India they became game birds for the British soldiers. Post independence industrialization and urbanization of India continues to seriously threaten their habitat and hence their population. They are characterized as Vulnerable according to IUCN classification.

Sarus pairs are known to engage in synchronized trumpeting and dancing and I managed to capture this male in this act.

6 responses to “Trumpeting Sarus Crane (Grus antigone)

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  1. very beautiful!! congratulations for the photos!!

  2. Nice capture Amit.

  3. beautiful

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