sarus craneimage credit: JanAnneO

sarus craneimage credit: Dave 2x

sarus craneimage credit:

sarus craneimage credit:

sarus craneimage credit:, Faye Pekas

sarus craneimage credit:

sarus craneimage credit: dpfunsun
Habitat: India, Southeast Asia and Australia
Status: Vulnerable

This beautiful creature is the Sarus Crane – the tallest flying bird in the word, standing at a height of up to 5’9″. They’re not hard to spot with their large gray bodies and bright red faces and have become an iconic species of open wetlands.

Much like other cranes, the Sarus Crane forms long-lasting pair bonds and are considered symbols of marital fidelity in India. It is believed that the cranes mate for life and pine the loss of their mates even to the point of starving to death. Although, rare cases of “divorce” have been observed.

When courting a mate, the pair of birds engage in elaborate “dances” interlaced with loud trumpeting calls. They hop, skip, and jump to get their would-be mate’s attention. Once paired, the birds construct a HUGE nest – about 6 feet across and up to 3 feet high! They make no effort to conceal these giant nests so they’re easily visible from a ways away. Both sexes incubate the clutch (which typically holds about 1-2 eggs) for 31 days.

Here’s a short amateur video of the Sarus Crane doin’ his mating dance: