The brolga (Antigone rubicunda), formerly known as the native companion, is a bird in the crane family. It has also been given the name Australian crane, a term coined in 1865 by well-known ornithologist John Gould in his Birds of Australia.
The brolga is a tall bird with a large beak, a long and slender neck, and stilt-like legs. The sexes are indistinguishable in appearance, though females are usually a little smaller. The adult has a grey-green, skin-covered crown, and the face, cheeks, and throat pouch are also featherless and are coral red. Other parts of the head are olive green and clothed in dark bristles. The gular pouch, which is particularly pendulous in adult males, is covered with such dense bristles as to make it appear black. The beak is greyish-green in adult birds, long and slender, and the irises are yellowish-orange. The ear coverts appear as a grey patch of small feathers surrounded by red naked skin and the body plumage is silvery-grey. The feathers on the back and the wing coverts have pale margins. The primary wing feathers are black and the secondaries grey. The legs and feet are greyish-black. Juveniles lack the red band and have fully feathered heads with dark irises. A fully grown brolga can reach a height of 0.7 to 1.4 m. The brolga is the heaviest flying bird regularly found in mainland Australia, averaging slightly higher in body mass than other large resident species such as black swan, Australian pelican and the Australian race of sarus crane (Asian sarus cranes are heavier and significantly taller). Brolgas are as well as much heavier on average than the biggest flying land birds such as the very sexually-dimorphic Australian bustard and wedge-tailed eagle), although heavier birds such as wandering albatross may be seen as marine vagrants off the mainland. Brolgas probably rival black-necked storks and sarus cranes as the tallest flying birds in Australia.