The Royal, The Deliverer and the Just Plain Ugly

Once again I’ve been hammering the search engines in a desperate attempt to identify the birds shot on our Indianapolis Zoo trip. I have whole hardheartedly committed to taking shots of the placards the next time we visit a zoo – this is just getting way to hard for the exotics, and today we definitely have a few exotics. The first one up has become one of my favorite birds. I’m a sucker for the larger birds (I can shoot Heron’s all day long) and this one ranks up there with the biggies.  Along with the size, this bird boasts a very unique color palette ranging from powder blue to white with a touch of red and a splotch of rust.

But this is probably not the first thing you notice with these majestic birds.  Take a gander at that flamboyant hat!  I pretty much lucked out in identifying this bird.  My efforts from the previous post already told me the Indy Zoo page was not going bail me out and just name it for me.  On a whim, I typed in “Colorful Exotic Birds” in the Google search bar and this link popped up (link here).   There it was, a mere three birds in – the East African Crowned Crane.  A few pecks of the keyboard revealed that Wikipedia refers to this bird as the Grey Crowned Crane.  According to that site, this is the National Bird of Uganda.  Here’s a better look at the fluffy crown these cranes sport.

Quite the mop top.  We did not get to experience this when we were there, but they are known for their mating dances and jumping.  Come to think of it, the first shot looks like it is limbering up for some ballet moves.  Or it could be just a nose itch – those moves are often confused.  Those wings can span over six and a half feet and their long legs are well adapted to their habitat preferring the wetlands and marshes.  Unfortunately, their habitat is dwindling which is threatening their survival.  Wikipedia lists this crane’s conservation status as Endangered.

Hit the jump to see more pictures of the Crowned Crane an a couple of other residents of the zoo.

Continue reading The Royal, The Deliverer and the Just Plain Ugly