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West African Crane at Paignton Zoo walks for exercise

Photo courtesy Paignton Zoo A West African crowned crane chick goes for morning walks with Paignton Zoo bird keeper Nikki Watt.

The only one of three eggs to hatch, the chick is now a month old. It has been named Broccoli because Nikki was cutting up vegetables in the bird kitchen and thought it sounded like a good name…

Walking is good exercise and sunshine is good for its development. In due course it will be DNA tested from an adult feather to determine its sex.

Photo courtesy Paignton Zoo Habitat: Grassland and swamps.

Wild Diet: Insects, grass seed and vegetation.

Behaviour: Cranes choose a single mate and at the start of the spring or the rainy season, move to a secluded place where they establish and defend their breeding ground.

Breeding: Cranes nest on the ground, often in a bare hollow where 2-3 eggs are incubated by both male and female for 28-36 days.

Threats: Habitat destruction and degradation for cattle-grazing, coal mining and other agricultural land-use changes. They are also at risk from hunting, egg-collecting and poisoning from pesticides.

Conservation: The East-African crowned-crane is an Endangered species and is currently protected by law in South Africa, Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Conservation projects are being carried out in these areas.

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