Grey Crowned Crane
Grey Crowned Crane by Lorenzo Barelli

Crowned Cranes, Rails, Crakes, Finfoot, Flufftails

Order Gruiformes – Cranes and relatives 

contains small and large bird species which stride, walk or swim. Flufftails, finfoot, cranes, bustards. Some families in the order cranes and relatives are extinct.

Buttonquail – Family Turnicidae is a small family of small birds inhabiting warm grassland in Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia.

Flufftails and relatives – Family Sarothruridae is a small family of ground living birds. In Africa mainly represented by various species of Flufftails.

Rails – Family Rallidae is a cosmopolitan family. Most species are associated with vegetation at water bodies, some in dense forest. They are small to medium seized ground living birds. 22 species got extinct in the 15th century. An amazing number is endemic to Oceanic islands and have even lost their ability to fly.

Finfoots – Family Heliornithidae consists of 3 species in 3 genera. They are tropical water birds with webbed feet. They feed on a variable diet from mulluscs, crustaceans, spiders, frogs, fish, insects even some leaves and seeds.

Cranes – Family Gruidae consists of 15 species world wide. They are tall birds with long legs. They are opportunistic feeders, meaning on plants and animals. They live in pairs but can gather in large numbers when food is favourable and abundant. Some migrate over long distances, some according to weather pattern nearby.

Concentrating on Grey-crowned Cranes is one of our safaris. You will visit Lake Ol’Bolossat, Mugie Conservancy, the foot of Mount Kenya and Amboseli National Park. The tour leader is Werner Schröder from NABU Germany. He will also introduce you to several projects to protect these wonderful birds. Please write to us for more information. Bush Trucker Tours is organizing the tour.

The Grey Crowned Crane is the national bird of Uganda

Click on the photo for larger view. The names of the photographers are on the photo and in the text. Those without name are from Elvira Wolfer.

To give you as actual information as possible we use Avibase, the books “Birds of South of the Sahara”, “Birds of East Africa”, “Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania”. Then we put the most characteristic information to the photo.

You can also follow us on Facebook “Bird photography Safaris Kenya” and see the numerous species as well as the beautiful photos from Lorenzo Barelli.

White-spotted Flufftail (Sarothrura pulchra centralis) is found in Kakamega Forest and further west. They inhabit tangled vegetation near water. Male – female has stripes instead of spots. Photo Jacques Pitteloud

Buff-spotted Flufftail (Sarothrura e. elegans) occurs from the Horn of Africa to South Africa in dense forest understorey therefore hard to spot. Female, the male is more reddish and the back black with crème pattern. Photo Per Holmen

African Rail (Rallus caerulescens) is widespread from East to Southern Africa but generally an uncommon wanderer. It is found in marshes up to 3.000 m. Photo Jacques Pitteloud

African Crake (Crecopis or Crex egregia) is uncommon in damp grassland and seasonal wetlands in many regions in Africa. Foto von Per Holmen, Tarangire

Black Crake (Zapornia flavirostra) is common in swamps and marshes with vegetation in Africa. Photo Lorenzo Barelli

Baillons’ Crake (Porzana pusilla obscura) can be a resident but also a migrant in wetlands with vegetation from East to South Africa. Photo by Per Holmen

Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana) is an uncommon palearctic migrant to South Africa. In East Africa it is a passant. Photo Jacques Pitteloud

African Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio madagascariensis) is common and widespread in reedbeds, marshes and flooded grassland.

Allen’s (lesser) Gallinule (Porphyrio alleni) occurs South of the Sahara in along lakes with vegation and flooded grassland. It is resident and migrant, scarce. Photo Per Holmen, Lake Baringo

Lesser Moorhen (Paragallinula angulata) locally uncommon resident and intra-African migrant. It can be found at well vegetated waters. Photo Adam Scott Kennedy

Common Moorhen (Gallinula chlorops meridionalis) at lakes, swamps South of the Sahara. It is bolder than other gallinules and often swims in open water.

Red-knobbed (crested) Coot (Fulica cristata) is found at water bodies exept fast flowing rivers. Sometimes they are in large numbers and mix with other water birds.

African Finfoot (Podica senegalensis somereni) live in dense vegetation along rivers. This subspecies occurs in Kenya and Northern Tanzania. Photo Adam Scott Kennedy left (male), Thika and Jacques Pitteloud

Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum gibbericeps) is found in Kenya and Uganda to N Mozambique. Status: endangered

Black (Northern) Crowned Crane (Balearica pavonina cecilae) is scarce in wetlands in Northern Kenya and Uganda.  Sadly we don’t have a photo yet