The crowned crane is a tall, majestic-looking bird with a “crown” of tall, stiff, golden feathers. The crane's long legs and neck, and excellent peripheral vision help it spot predators in the tall savanna grasses.
Crowned cranes are famous for their courtship, especially their mating dance. It includes bobbing, wing flapping, and swinging circles around each other. Crowned cranes are usually found in pairs, but may be alone or in small flocks of 3 to 20 individuals. A successful pair keeps its family group together for almost a year. After that, the young birds often form their own flock and spend much of their time feeding in fields.
You don’t need to “crane” your neck to get a good look at these elegant birds. At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, you'll find a pair of West African crowned cranes and other types of cranes—East African crowned, blue, Indian sarus, white-naped, wattled, red-crowned, and demoiselle cranes—featured in a variety of settings, including Nairobi Village, African Woods, and field exhibits.