Of the 15 species of crane in the world, six of them have a color in part of the name: black, grey, white, red, or blue. This Crane Week we've added four new crane coloring pages to our free downloads collection. You can get creative with our new additions:
We're celebrating cranes on the Birdorable blog this week! Today we'd like to share a bird term that relates to cranes and other birds. Let's learn about what it means to be precocial!
The term precocial comes from the Latin praecocia, which refers to "places where fruits ripen early." A precocial species is one in which the newly hatched or born young are relatively mature. In birds, this means the baby is usually covered in downy feathers and is able to walk and even feed itself within a short time of hatching. This adaptation is found in most ground-nesting birds as a strategy to evade predators when the nest offers little shelter.
Cranes have precocial young, as do many other birds, including ducks and geese, chickens, and rails. Malleefowl chicks can even already fly within a day of hatching. There are some mammals born precocial, like the Hartebeest, whose calves can stand and walk within hours of being born.
On the other end of the development spectrum are altricial babies. In birds, this usually means at the time of hatching the chick is naked (without feathers), has its eyes shut, and is completely helpless and dependent on its parents for care all of its needs.
Two other terms related to precocial and altricial are nidifugous and nidicolous. Nidifugous species leave the nest site shortly after hatching; all nidifugous species are precocial but not all precocial species are nidifugous. Precocial birds that remain in the nest for a period are called nidicolous.
It's Crane Week, so how about a crane edition of our Baby Birdorable series to celebrate?
If you think our Birdorable birds are cute as adults, what about when they are babies? Wattled Cranes are found in Africa, south of the Sahara. They raise their chicks near wetlands or marsh habitat, where they may reuse a goose nest or make their own sloppy grass nest. The average clutch size for Wattled Cranes is 1.6 eggs, the smallest of all the crane species. The incubation period of 33-36 days is the longest of all the cranes. Fledging takes another 100 to 150 days, another crane extreme.
Here are some adorable baby Wattled Crane photos taken at the Jacksonville Zoo by photographer Rob Bixby, shared here via Creative Commons (CC by 2.0). Can you spot the cute little baby wattle visible in some of the photos?
It's Crane Week! You may be wondering where you can find cranes. There are cranes on every continent except for South America and Antarctica. With their elaborate mating dances, haunting calls, impressive size, and epic migrations, cranes are celebrated all around the world. You can join other crane enthusiasts at various crane festivals around the United States and beyond.
The Whooping Crane Festival in Port Aransas, Texas This huge annual festival celebrated its 22nd year in 2018. The fest takes place at the end of February each year and features field trips, speakers, workshops, a trade show, and more.
Crane Festival in Kearney, Nebraska This annual festival takes place in late March. Birding field trips, information sessions, and other activities are offered for participants.
Monte Vista Crane Festival in the San Luis Valley of Colorado This festival takes place in March each year. Visitors enjoy viewing spectacular flocks of cranes, ducks, and geese in a beautiful mountain setting.
Chrissiesmeer Crane Festival in Chrissiesmeer, South Africa This annual festival takes place in July. Visitors can see South Africa's national bird, the Blue Crane, as well as the spectacular Grey Crowned-Crane.
Cranes of the World Festival at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin This family-friendly event will next take place on August 4, 2018.
Yampa Valley Crane Festival in northwest Colorado This festival from the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition will next take place starting August 30, 2018. The fest features guided bird viewings, live raptor presentations, photography workshops, and much more.
Whooping Crane Festival in Princeton, Wisconsin This annual one-day festival includes activities like a pancake breakfast, vendors, triva, and guided tours.
CraneFest in Bellevue, Michigan This combined crane and art festival will next take place October 13-14, 2018. Each day the festival features artists, food vendors, and conservation-related information and activities. Stay for the spectacular evening fly-in of cranes that takes place in the hours before dusk.
Sandhill Crane Festival in Lodi, California This festival will next take place November 2-4, 2018. The event celebrates the return of the cranes for the winter and features related presentations and workshops for participants.
Black-necked Crane Festival in the Phobjikha Valley of Bhutan This celebration takes place in mid-November, when the cranes return to Bhutan. The fest highlights the importance of preserving and appreciating the endangered crane.
Festival of the Cranes in Bosque del Apache NWR, New Mexico This huge six-day festival takes place in November at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge and offers over a hundred activities like photography sessions, birding trips, and more.
For T-Shirt Tuesday [Crane Edition] we're unveiling several new t-shirt designs inspired by cranes that are honored as avian emblems in several different places around the world. These cute crane t-shirts are available from our Birdorable store on Amazon. Click a design to view the t-shirt on Amazon.
The Black Crowned-Crane is the National Bird of Nigeria. In this t-shirt design our cartoon bird stands proudly before the Nigerian national flag.
The Black-necked Crane is the official state bird of Jammu and Kashmir in India. A stylized image of the crane is featured on the state flag, which is part of our t-shirt design.
The Blue Crane is the National Bird of South Africa. It is featured in a collegiate style on our t-shirt.
The Red-crowned Crane is the unofficial National Bird of China. The bird features prominently in Chinese culture; it is shown along with a map of China in our t-shirt design.
The Grey Crowned-Crane is the National Bird of Uganda. Here, too, the bird is featured stylized on the flag, and on our shirt as well.
Almost anywhere you can find cranes living in the wild, you can find cranes in human mythology and popular culture. They are often symbols of happiness, youth, good luck, and/or peace.
In Japan, as in many other parts of Asia, cranes are regarded as symbols of good fortune, peace, and youth. Japanese legend tells that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted one wish.
In China, the Red-crowned Crane is prevalent in mythology. It is a symbol of nobility, as well as youth, longevity, and immortality.
In heraldry or coats of arms, a crane is often shown holding a rock with its foot. The symbolism comes from a legend attributed to Pliny the Elder. He wrote that a group of cranes under attack put one bird on watch. The bird on guard duty would hold a rock; if the crane accidentally fell asleep, the sound of the falling rock would awaken the bird.
The elaborate mating and pair-bonding dances performed by cranes are noted in several cultures. The Blue Crane is prominent in the culture of the Xhosa of southern Africa. Feathers from the bird are used in ceremonies to decorate distinguished men.
In native Siberian culture, the Siberian Crane is sacred, a symbol associated with the sun and spring time.
In Germany, there is a museum devoted entirely to the natural history of theÂ Common Crane! TheÂ Kranich MuseumÂ is in a renovated manor house in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. There are displays of various pieces of artwork related to the birds, including video, murals, costumes, and other media.
TheÂ Sarus CraneÂ is considered sacred in severalÂ Indian cultures. They are known as symbols of marital virtue because they mate for life. When a Sarus Crane dies, its mate was believed to starve to death in sorrow.
Cranes are featured in a few of Aesop's fables. In The Geese and the Cranes, a mixed flock of geese and cranes were feeding in a meadow. A birdcatcher came to ensnare them in his nets. The cranes, being light of wing, fled away at his approach; while the geese, being slower of flight and heavier in their bodies, were captured. The moral of this story is that those who are caught are not always the most guilty. Other fables attributed to Aesop that include cranes are The Wolf and the Crane and The Peacock and the Crane.