Famed for their elaborate courtship dance, Brolgas are one of Australia’s most iconic birds. The sexes are indistinguishable in appearance, though females are usually a little smaller. The basic social unit is a pair or small family group of about 4 birds, usually parents together with juvenile offspring, though some such groups appear to be unrelated. The clutch size is usually two, but occasionally one or three eggs are laid about two days apart. In the nonbreeding season, they gather into large flocks, which appear to be many self-contained individual groups rather than a single social unit. Maryborough naturalist Hugh Peddie said Brolgas could be seen locally. In northern Australia, feral pigs reduce the cover of plants that Brolgas use to hide from predators. Brolgas can be found in a surprising variety of habitats.  It is more secure in the north-eastern part of its distribution range as the floodplains of Queensland are mostly unsuitable for farming and much of it is in private ownership, but development activities that change or reduce habitat diversity, especially in the Gulf Plains, can have unknown impacts on their populations.  Until 1961, brolgas were thought to be the only species of crane in Australia, until the sarus crane was also located in Queensland.  In south-western Queensland, 26–40% of all crane sightings were breeding pairs and families in the Gilbert and Flinders river floodplains. In fact a small flock of Brolgas have inhabited the Saltwater Creek area for some 30-40 years.” While not considered migratory, they’re partially nomadic, flying to different areas following seasonal rainfall.The Australian population of Brolgas is considered ‘secure’, with somewhere between 20,000 to 100,000 birds in Brolgas are widespread and often abundant in north and north-east Australia, especially north-east Queensland, and are common as far south as Victoria. They are commonly found throughout northern and eastern regions of Australia in large open wetlands, grassy plains and coastal mud flats. The population is estimated at between 20,000 and 100,000. Brolgas got their name from the aboriginal (indigenous people of Australia) language of … The Brolga is a large grey crane, with a featherless red head and grey crown. A total of 449 birds were observed on the one day. Sometimes, the birds make hardly any nest, take over a disused swan nest, or simply lay on bare ground. The Brolga is commonly found in open wetlands, grassy plains, well-watered farmland and sometimes coastal mudflats. They are grey in colour with a bit of red feathers on their head. They measure 95 by 61 mm (3.7 by 2.4 in), though larger eggs were found in a clutch of three eggs. The birds then jump up to a metre in the air with their wings outstretched, before performing an elaborate display of head-bobbing, wing-beating, strutting and bowing. It is amazing to watch them. Brolga numbers were highest in floodplains where grassland habitats dominated, and the largest flocks were also found in grassland habitats. , The dictionary definition of brolga at Wiktionary, For the Royal Australian Navy ships named after the bird, see, sfn error: no target: CITEREFHiggins1990 (, Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22692067A93335916.en, "Cranes of the World: Australian Crane (Grus rubicundus)", "Flufftails, finfoots, rails, trumpeters, cranes, limpkin", "Mitochondrial genome sequences and the phylogeny of cranes (Gruiformes: Gruidae)", "The Cranes: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan", "Breeding and flocking: comparison of seasonal wetland habitat use by the Brolga Grus rubicunda in south-western Victoria", "Breeding home range movements of pre-fledged brolga chicks, Antigone rubicunda (Gruidae) in Victoria, Australia – Implications for wind farm planning and conservation", "Department of Sustainability and Environment Threatened Species Advisory Lists", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Brolga&oldid=968165328, Taxonbars with automatically added original combinations, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 17 July 2020, at 16:57. The white (blotched with brown and purple) eggs are laid in a single clutch. But this powerful place contained the essence of the Brolga and we would love to be there at the end of the wet, when the Brolgas make it all their own. I visited one of my favourite birding sites yesterday – the Western Treatment Plant also known as the Pooh Farm. They are precocial and are able to leave the nest within a day or two. Australia is now known to have Sarus Cranes Antigone antigone as well, so an earlier common name for Brolga (Australian Crane, attributed to John Gould) may be confusing. When Mary Spencer said that the Brolgas ‘resort[ed]’ in the paddock near the Homestead, she meant it in the nineteenth century sense of the word: that it was the birds’ custom to repeatedly visit and enjoy this place. We also protect their habitat on Ethabuka, Cravens Peak, Edgbaston and Yourka Reserves (all in Queensland), removing threats like weeds and feral pigs, which damage sensitive wetland systems. When first described by the naturalist George Perry in 1810, the brolga was misclassified as a species of Ardea, the genus that includes the herons and egrets. Activity Description: Brolgas are only found in Australia and a small region of Papua New Guinea. Donations over $2 are tax-deductible and we can't thank you enough for your support. (Australia’s only other crane, the Sarus Crane, is found only in far northern Australia.) , Queensland has the greatest numbers of brolgas, and sometimes flocks of over 1,000 individuals are seen. The adults continue to protect the young for up to 11 months, or for nearly 2 years if they do not breed again in the interim. The Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) is the only other Australian member of the crane family and is found across northern Australia, South East Asia and India. Male Brolga venturing from a lake into dry surrounding country dominated by Galvanised Burr (photo courtesy of M. Eaton) [Lake Bindegolly NP, near Thargomindah, QLD, June 2020] They feed and breed in open wetlands, coastal mudflats and irrigated croplands, occasionally visiting estuaries and mangrove creeks. , Brolga movements in Australia are poorly understood, though seasonal flocks are observed in eastern Queensland in nonbreeding areas regularly, and a few coastal populations are suspected to move up to 500 km (310 mi) inland.  Extreme heights of up to 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in) in male brolga have been reported but presumably need confirmation.  It is unclear whether all breeding pairs leave breeding territories to join flocks during the dry season or return the subsequent breeding season, and this behavior may vary with location. They are also known as Australian Cranes or by their former name: Native Companion. Although the bird is not considered endangered over the majority of its range, populations are showing some decline, especially in southern Australia, and local action plans are being undertaken in some areas. Its plumage is mainly grey, with black wing tips, and it has an orange-red band of colour on its head. When rain arrives in June and July, they disperse to the coastal freshwater marshes, shallow lakes, wet meadows, and other wetlands where they breed. In the non-breeding season, they gather into large flocks, which appear to be many self-contained individual groups rather than a single social unit. It is a 200 square kilometer site for the treatment of Melbourne’s waste products. Brolgas are widespread and often abundant in north and north-east Australia, especially north-east Queensland, and are common as far south as Victoria.They are also found in southern New Guinea and as rare vagrants in New Zealand and the northern part of Western Australia.The population in northern Australia is estimated at between 20,000 and 100,000 birds and in southern Australia, 1,000 birds. Vulnerable in NSW, SA and Vic. Brolgas are not considered endangered, although they are rarer in Southern Australia. They are found in wetlands throughout Australia and New Guinea. After breeding season, the birds gather in large flocks where families stay separated. The population in northern Australia is estimated at between 20,000 and 100,000 birds and in southern Australia, 1,000 birds. Here, it may be barely discernible as it wheels in great circles, sometimes emitting its hoarse cry.. Brolga footprint in the dried floor of a dune swale ephemeral wetland after winter rain, Craven's Peak, Qld. At this time, southern populations congregate in inland flocking areas, which include upland marshes, the edges of reservoirs and lakes, pastures, and agricultural land.  The bird is the official bird emblem for the state and also appears on its coat of arms. Collisions with powerlines is also an issue and fox predation is a major problem for breeding birds in southern Australia. We work with universities, and experts like ornithologist (bird specialist) Professor Richard Kingsford on Naree, who has been monitoring waterbirds across inland Australia since 1986. Brolgas are best known for their intricate and ritualised dance. We own 36 reserves and partner with 25 Aboriginal groups. The Australian population of Brolgas is considered ‘secure’, with somewhere between 20,000 to 100,000 birds in northern Australia.  Nests were initiated between November and February in the Gilbert and Flinders River basins, and tracked rainfall episodes in each river basin. They are one of the tallest flying birds in Australia, averaging a height of five feet tall! Once hatched, the young can feed themselves almost immediately. It is still abundant in the northern tropics, but very sparse across the southern part of its range. Standing at about one metre tall, brolgas mate for life. They jump in the air and spin and hold their wings out. Brolgas breed from September to December in southern Australia and from February to May in northern Australia. Brolgas do not migrate, and have been known to use the same nesting site for up to 20 years. The weight can range from 3.6 to 8.7 kg (7.9 to 19.2 lb). Breeding success of territorial pairs (estimated as percentage of pairs that successfully fledged at least one chick) was 59% in the Gilbert River basin and 46% in the Flinders River basin (using a total of 80 pairs located on territories), with 33% of all successful pairs fledging two chicks each. It also inhabits southern New Guinea, parts of northern Western Australia and New Zealand. © Provided by ABC NEWS About 98 per cent of Australia's brolga population is located in northern Queensland.  Families roosted in wetlands at night, and moved an average distance of 442 m to and from these night roosts. Brolgas can search for cold air to fly to high altitudes .  The Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union made brolga, a popular name derived from Gamilaraay burralga, the official name for the bird in 1926. Each family in the flock is led by a male. It lives in wetlands, shallow open marshes, wet meadows, coastal mudflats and sometimes estuaries. The Brolga is a species of crane found in Australia and New Guinea. Brolgas are normally found in large noisy flocks (sometimes 1,000 or more) Each family group in the flock is lead by a male. , The brolga is a common, gregarious wetland bird species of tropical and south-eastern Australia and New Guinea.  They also eat the shoots and leaves of wetland and upland plants, cereal grains, seeds, insects, mollusks, crustaceans, frogs, and lizards. The largest flock recorded was of 130 birds north of Penshurst. They tear up the ground with their powerful beaks in search of bulbs and edible roots. Brolgas are gregarious birds, often seen in pairs and in family groups numbering 3 to 4 individuals. It is also included in the 2007 advisory list of threatened vertebrate fauna in Victoria where it is listed as vulnerable.
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