The elegant blue crane is the national bird of South Africa (6). As the common name suggests, it is pale blue in colour, although it can appear grey from a distance (2). It is a relatively small crane with a large head, thick neck and beautiful elongated wing feathers, known as tertials that trail behind this bird and are often mistaken for tail feathers (6). Most cranes have red patches of skin on their heads that are used in display. The blue crane does not have these bare patches, but instead has head feathers that can be erected when excited or during aggressive encounters (6). This species produces loud honking calls typical of cranes (2).
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