These regal and majestic looking birds roam the savannah, love grasslands, nest in wetlands and roost in trees. With white cheeks, yellow crowns tipped with black, and pale grey eyes, the stunning grey-crowned crane has gained recognition in the political rounds: they're the national bird of Uganda, and are trophy pets for the Rwandan elite as a sign of wealth and longevity. They're also highly sought after as a backyard pet, which significantly contributes to the illegal crane trade and their fast dwindling numbers. In Rwanda alone there are fewer than 500.
The trade takes these birds from the wild for domestication and are onsold to captive trade markets. Along with habitat loss, these are the key reasons why this species is now the fastest declining species of crane in the world.
85% have disappeared in 4 decades and there are only 30,000 left.
IUCN Red List Category: Endangered