PhD study, Brolga & Sarus Crane

Interactions between Brolga and Sarus Cranes in Australia

Research Institute for Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University

Tim Nevard is well-advanced with his PhD study into Brolga-Sarus interactions in Australia, including the longstanding mystery of hybrids between the species. Tim's project outline at CDU. Contact Tim by Email to report sightings of apparent hybrid cranes and interaction behaviour between Brolgas and Sarus, or write to: PO Box 809 Ravenshoe, Queensland, Australia 4888. To report banded cranes see details» in Part 2.

Study background

In 1980, crane researcher and joint founder of the International Crane Foundation George Archibald, presented a paper to the International Crane Symposium in Sapporo, Japan. In ‘Introducing the Sarolga’, he described apparent Brolga-Sarus hybrid cranes seen on the Atherton Tablelands during his 1972 trip to Australia. George Archibald's suggestion that interbreeding is recent and increasing, and may threaten the future of Brolgas in northern Australia, has been one of the intriguing themes interesting Australian crane observers and researchers ever since.

Sarolga at Wrotham Park, N Qld

Compare the extent of red on the head with Brolga and Sarus images at the top of the Sidebar (right), or in the Ozcranes Brolga and Sarus FAQs. The 'Sarolga' at L also appears to have a partial dewlap under the chin

← Sarolga, Wrotham Park, October 2012 (Tim Nevard).

Tim is appealing for news, photographs, video of unusual cranes from northern Australia. ‘Sarolgas’ may have combinations of features, including less red on the head than Sarus, but more than Brolgas; greyish rather than pink legs, but usually with pinkish ‘knees’ and toes.

Tim Explains...

It's not going to be easy, as there appear to be a number of ‘grades’ of Sarolga (maybe based on the prevalence of Sarus or Brolga in their genetics), but any records of sightings (old or recent), ideally with an exact location (GPS coordinates would be great), a photo (even if it is grainy), number and sex of Sarolgas, and date and time of day; as well as any comments about the numbers of and interactions with other birds that they were with (eg other Sarolgas, Sarus and Brolgas) should be sent to Tim...

Sarolga and Sarus Crane, Atherton Tablelands 1972 (courtesy G Archibald)

Brolgas and Sarus at Mareeba Wetlands, N Qld

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Tim Nevard research Part 2»

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