Knowledge Gaps

Sixteen years on In 2004, when Ozcranes began, many often-repeated ‘facts’ about Australian Sarus Cranes were still just interesting hypotheses waiting to be investigated, and some were apparently myths waiting to die, despite evidence to the contrary!

Today, knowledge has greatly increased on Brolgas and Australian Sarus Cranes, but there are still major gaps in our knowledge of crane ecology and behaviour. Here we note some gaps (from the species FAQS and other Ozcranes pages); and also recommendations for future work from recent published papers.

Knowledge gaps from FAQs

For the full FAQs for Brolgas and Australian Sarus Cranes, see the Ozcranes Site Map. FAQs include features, locations, numbers, food and water, breeding, non-breeding habitats and behaviour, and conservation. As well, there are individual pages covering e.g. Brolgas in New Guinea. This list covers just some knowledge gaps highlighted on Ozcranes:

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Gulf wetland

↑ Wetland, Gulf Plains: Sarus breeding habitat (K.S. Gopi Sundar)

Research papers

Recent research papers are listed (with links) at Ozcranes Current Research home». Research papers since 2018 have expanded knowledge on aspects of Brolga and Sarus Crane biology and ecology in Australia, here we look at the areas recommended or implied, for future research and conservation.

Wintering (non-breeding) Brolgas and Sarus Cranes, Atherton Tablelands

Recommendations from recent papers:

Nevard Timothy D., Leiper Ian, Archibald George, Garnett Stephen T. 2018. Farming and cranes on the Atherton Tablelands, Australia. Pacific Conservation Biology 25: 184-192.

Nevard Timothy D., Franklin Donald C., Leiper Ian, Archibald George, Garnett Stephen T. 2019. Agriculture, brolgas and Australian sarus cranes on the Atherton Tablelands, Australia. Pacific Conservation Biology 25: 377-385.

Elinor C Scambler, Timothy D Nevard, Graham N Harrington, E. Ceinwen Edwards, Virginia Simmonds, Donald C Franklin. 2020. Numbers, distribution and behaviour of Australian Sarus Cranes Antigone antigone gillae and Brolgas A. rubicunda at wintering roosts on the Atherton Tablelands, far north Queensland, Australia. Australian Field Ornithology 37: 87-99.

Elinor C Scambler. 2020. Jim Bravery's cranes: Brolgas and Sarus Cranes on the Atherton Tablelands, 1920-1975. North Queensland Naturalist 50: 12-24.

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Breeding Brolgas and Sarus Cranes, Gulf Plains (GP) and Victoria (V)

Recommendations from recent papers:

K. S. Gopi Sundar, John D. A. Grant, Inka Veltheim, Swati Kittur, Kate Brandis, Michael A. McCarthy and Elinor C. Scambler. 2019 Sympatric cranes in northern Australia: abundance, breeding success, habitat preference and diet, Emu 119: 79-89

Veltheim, Inka, Simon Cook, Grant Palmer, Richard Hill, and Michael McCarthy 2019. Breeding Home Range Movements of Pre-Fledged Brolga Chicks, Antigone rubicunda (Gruidae) in Victoria, Australia – Implications for Wind Farm Planning and Conservation. Global Ecology and Conservation (e00703).

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Mareeba Wetlands

↑ Brolgas and Sarus mingling at roost, Mareeba Wetlands (now Tropical Wetlands SER, Forever Wild), Atherton Tablelands, Queensland (Tim Nevard). Such mingling at mixed-species wintering roosts is rare and not yet well understood

Population genetics & hybrids

Recommendations from recent papers:

Nevard, Timothy D., Martin Haase, George Archibald, Ian Leiper, and Stephen T. Garnett. 2020. The Sarolga: Conservation Implications of Genetic and Visual Evidence for Hybridization between the Brolga Antigone rubicunda and the Australian Sarus Crane Antigone antigone gillae. Oryx 54: 40-51.

Nevard TD, Haase M, Archibald G, Leiper I, Van Zalinge RN, Purchikoon N, Siriaroonrat B, Latt TN, Wink M and Garnett ST. 2020. Subspecies in the Sarus Crane Antigone antigone revisited; with particular reference to the Australian population. PLOS ONE

Adam D Miller, Inka Veltheim, Timothy Nevard, Han Ming Gan and Martin Haase 2019, Microsatellite loci and the complete mitochondrial DNA sequence characterised through next-generation sequencing and de novo genome assembly, and a preliminary assessment of population genetic structure for the Australian crane, Antigone rubicunda. Avian Biology Research 12(2).

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