Exercise is for the Birds: Crowned Crane Chicks Take a Walk at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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Crowned crane chicksTwo East African crowned crane chicks at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park took a walk with Tiana Skrivseth, senior keeper, earlier today as part of their daily exercise routine. The young female chicks, hatched 26 and 28 days ago, need daily exercise to strengthen their feet and long legs and to gain balance before they can join the adult birds in the Safari Park’s African Plains habitat.

East African crowned cranes get their name from the tall, stiff, golden feathers that cover their head when full grown. The young birds currently are light brown but as they mature, they will turn slate gray with dark gray to black primary and secondary feathers with chestnut markings. Their cheek patches will be white and red and they will stand approximately four feet tall.

East African crowned cranes are listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The numbers and range of these birds have been reduced significantly over the past 20 years due to the loss, transformation and degradation of its habitat. These two crane chicks represent the 62nd and 63rd hatchings of this species at the Safari Park.

Photo taken on July 11, 2014, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.