This is a grey crowned crane. If you live in or visit southern Africa, you might see these cranes in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, or South Africa. It is the national bird of Uganda, and it appears on Uganda’s flag. Grey crowned cranes are very similar to black crowned cranes because they both have a crown of pretty golden feathers around their heads. The grey and black crowned cranes are also special because they are the only crane species that roost in trees.
There is an African folktale that tells the story of how the crowned cranes got their feather crowns. There was a great king who was lost in the desert. He was hot and thirsty. The cranes came and sheltered the king with their wings and led him to safety. The king was so thankful that he gave the cranes crowns made out of real gold. The cranes liked their new crowns, but some of the people became jealous and started killing the cranes and stealing the crowns from the birds. The king was sad and wanted to help the cranes, so he waved his magic wand and turned the gold crowns into crowns of golden feathers.
The crane in this picture lives at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin. We visited there in October. You can read about more of the cranes that live there in my other crane posts.