A pair of West African Crowned Cranes at Audubon Zoo have been rearing chicks for years with more than 14 living offspring in zoos around the country. The Zoo's flock holds a mother and four of her chicks from previous years. Crowned cranes are endangered birds so their chicks are always a welcomed addition to their population.
West African Crowned Cranes are native to the savannah grasslands of west Africa south of the Sahara. Their natural habitat spans open landscapes such as extensive marshy areas and along the shores of lakes and ponds. Unfortunately, these birds are struggling to survive because drainage, overgrazing and pollution threaten their habitat.
As parents, crowned cranes work as a team. On the nest both the male and female take turns protecting the eggs, and when caring for their young one parent teaches the chicks to eat while the other watches out for trouble. Audubon's crowned crane family lives in the giraffe yard of the Zoo and includes mom, dad, this year’s three chicks, and a young chick from last year.