Birda Logo
Species Guide
A photo of a Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum)
Grey Crowned Crane

Grey Crowned Crane

Balearica regulorum

The Grey Crowned Crane, known scientifically as Balearica regulorum, stands as a majestic figure approximately 1 meter tall, with a wingspan stretching to 2 meters. This bird's plumage is predominantly grey, accented with a variety of colors on the wings and a striking black patch at the top. Its head is adorned with a crown of stiff golden feathers, setting it apart from its avian companions. The face is white, highlighted by a bright red inflatable throat pouch, and the bill is a modest grey. Black legs support its graceful frame, and its large, slender feet are designed for balance as it wades through grasslands.

Identification Tips

Observers should note the Grey Crowned Crane's unique combination of features: the golden crown, white face, red throat pouch, and the black patch on the wings. Males and females are similar in appearance, though males may be slightly larger. Juveniles present a greyer complexion with a feathered buff face.


The Grey Crowned Crane favors the dry savannahs of Sub-Saharan Africa but is also comfortable in marshes, cultivated lands, and grassy flatlands near rivers and lakes.


This species is widespread across eastern and southern Africa, with a presence from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, through Kenya, down to South Africa.


The Grey Crowned Crane is known for its elaborate breeding display, which includes dancing, bowing, and jumping. It is a social bird, often found in flocks ranging from 30 to 150 individuals.

Song & Calls

The crane's call is a distinctive booming sound, produced with the help of its red gular sac. It also emits a honking noise, quite unlike the trumpeting calls of other crane species.


Breeding seasons are timed with the rains, varying by region. The Grey Crowned Crane builds a large nest in wetland vegetation, where it lays a clutch of 2-5 glossy, dirty-white eggs. Both parents share incubation duties over a period of 28–31 days. Chicks are precocial and fledge in 56–100 days.

Similar Species

The Grey Crowned Crane can be confused with the Black Crowned Crane, but the two can be differentiated by their calls, plumage, and genetic evidence.

Diet and Feeding

An omnivorous bird, the Grey Crowned Crane feeds on plants, seeds, grain, insects, frogs, worms, snakes, small fish, and eggs of aquatic animals. It employs a foot-stamping technique to flush out insects and often follows grazing herbivores to catch disturbed prey.

Conservation status

The Grey Crowned Crane is currently classified as Endangered, with an estimated global population between 58,000 and 77,000 individuals. It faces threats from habitat destruction, overgrazing, and pesticide pollution.


The Grey Crowned Crane holds a place of honor as the national bird of Uganda, gracing the country's flag and coat of arms.

Grey Crowned Crane Sounds

Recorded by: © 
App logo
Birda is a birdwatching app and community aimed at curious people who want to deepen their connection with nature.

Grey Crowned Crane Fun Facts

Did you know?
The Grey Crowned Crane is the national bird of Uganda

Grey Crowned Cranes on Birda


More Cranes

A photo of a Sarus Crane (Antigone antigone)

Sarus Crane

Antigone antigone
Birda Logo

Your birdwatching journey like never before

Connect with nature in minutes
Take a walk, look out of the window and log the birds that you see. Feel good about those little connections to nature.
Discover the joy of birding
Find new birding spots, see more birds, share and celebrate with a like-minded community of nature lovers.
Play your part in saving nature
Logging your birding sightings and sessions turns into positive action for our planet. Every sighting counts.

Birda Blog

What Our Birders Say
Great App
Great app to use for logging and communicating with others who are interested in birds
Great app for beginner twitchers
I’ve had a passion of photographing birds for a long time now but have only just gotten into proper birdwatching, and this app is brilliant for those just getting started. There is a great sense of community among users and the app is very easy to use and professional. Awesome app altogether
Erna M
I really like Birda
I really like Birda. I also use other birding apps and have Birda with E-bird going at the same time.
Simply fantastic
I love this app, it puts so much fun into recording the birds I’ve seen and heard while I’m out and about. The interface is user-friendly and suitable for all ages. It’s great to collect badges and to review my “lists”.
Nick S
Work together with community
Been loving using this app to log my bird sightings and work together with community members to identify different birds. I've already learned a lot since I started about a month ago!
A mordern game changer
Birda is an awesome app, its updated the world of birding to the modern day with a fun and easy to use app. It’s engaging and allows positive interaction with fellow bird lovers!
Carl B
Helped me to identify more birds
Love this app and has helped me to identify more birds. The challenges and badges are great for keeping the motivation going to get out and keep birding.
Stewart W
Fantastic to be involved
Fantastic to be involved, great for mental health and gets you responding with the Challenges that are to takd part in.
Mike T
Sense of Community
A great app, which is continually being improved. What really comes through is the passion of those behind the app. The sense of community is brilliant, so much help and support provided to new and/or in experienced birders.
Great bird recording
For a while I’ve been trying to find an app to easily record bird lists and day out and struggled to find one that I like. Birda is great for this, straightforward and a great community!
As featured in
AboutPressAmbassadorsAffiliatesInfluencersCareersPrivacyTerms & Conditions
An app for birdwatchers
Giving back
Connect with us
Copyright © 2024 Chirp Birding. All rights reserved.