News | Diary

Ozcranes News has the latest from our four sections (Info, Research, Australia-New Guinea Cranes and Conservation). The Diary lists crane-related events plus Natural Resource Management meetings in the Northern and Southern Gulf Regions, which include the main known Australian breeding area for Sarus Cranes.

Please contact us with your news items and events for the Diary. For projects or databases accepting sightings, please see Ozcranes Research».


An exciting new study on Brolga genetics is calling for people to collect moulted feathers. Two new papers report the first apparent ‘triplets’ in Australian Sarus Cranes, and the first record of a Brolga taking eggs from an Australasian Grebe nest. Ozcranes has new pages on Sarolgas (Brolga-Sarus hybrids), and Brolgas and salinity..

Brolga DNA study – call for feathers

Kaytlyn (Skye) Davis has begun a PhD study with Macquarie University in collaboration with the University of New South Wales, ‘Informing the conservation of Australia's waterbirds from genetic connectivity analyses and eDNA’. For Brolgas, the study will examine genetic connectivity between northern and southern populations and explore the influence of current and future landscape features on gene flow. Genetic data will be obtained by employing a next-generation sequencing approach on DNA extracted from naturally-discarded feathers, a non-invasive technique. Study results will be used to inform conservation plans, particularly for threatened southern Brolga populations. If you can help Skye by collecting shed Brolga feathers please contact her at k.skye.davisATgmailDOTcom, or Kate Brandis kate.brandisATunswDOTeduDOTau. Skye's project brochure is here in Ozcranes Downloads».

Crane ‘Triplets’

A few Sarus Crane pairs have been recorded with three young (or ‘triplets’) in Asia, but for the first time this has been reported in Australia, on two separate occasions on the Atherton Tablelands. As well, the paper reviewed 3-egg clutches in Brolgas, and with the help of Australian museums found this is more common than previously thought. The paper has been published in Australian Field Ornithology.

CITATION: Elinor C Scambler, John D A Grant, N Glenn Holmes. 2020. First observations of Australian Sarus Crane Antigone antigone gillae pairs attending three young and the incidence of three-egg clutches in the Brolga A. rubicunda. Australian Field Ornithology 37: 105-111.

Sarus 3 young in India

Sarus Crane pair (preening on left) with three young in India (K.S. Gopi Sundar)

Brolga eating grebe eggs

Helen Dunne (central Queensland) and Elinor Scambler have published a new paper with photographs of a Brolga eating grebe eggs. There are a few records of Sarus Cranes in India eating birds' eggs, and also Sandhill Cranes in the USA, but this is the first record for a crane in Australia.

CITATION: Dunne HI, Scambler EC. 2020. First observation of a Brolga Antigone rubicunda preying on eggs and of water-kicking behaviour by Australasian Grebes Tachybaptus novaehollandiae as a nest-defence. Australan Field Ornithology 37: 119-123.

The Ozcranes pages on Sarus Crane and Brolga food and water have been updated with new images: from the grebe eggs paper (Helen Dunne); also from Helen Dunne, the first known photographs of an Australian Sarus Crane fishing; and from Tim Nevard, Brolgas and Sarus Cranes feeding on crabs extracted from cracks in concrete hard ground in the Gulf:

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‘Sarolgas’ (Brolga-Sarus hybrids)

These new pages cover (1) Sarolgas in Australia – discovery in 1972, growing awareness of hybrids in the field, and recent genetic research and its implications. (2) This page looks at the history (1934-1944) of the first known Sarolgas, in captivity at the renowned avicultural park of the Château de Clères in northern France.

Brolgas and salinity

Brolgas have a special gland or nasal duct that excretes excess salt, allowing them to use saline foods and water, but there are no field studies and little information. This new page brings together observations from relevant references, with images of Brolgas in saline habitats and (possibly) drinking seawater.

News snippets

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Please Email us to post your project or event in the Diary. For projects or databases accepting sightings, please see Ozcranes Research»


BirdLife Australia surveys:

Five north Queensland Natural Resource Management regions are home to almost all Australia's Sarus Cranes, and significant populations of Brolgas. News, events and many resources are avalable from their websites.

Victoria & South Australia

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