PhD study, Brolga & Sarus Crane

Interactions between Brolga and Sarus Cranes in Australia

Research Institute for Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University

This page has field work news and photos. For details of the study and images of Brolga-Sarus hybrids or ‘Sarolgas’ see Part 1. 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 below»

Field work


Tim is continuing with analysis and has been appointed ‘Guardian’ for the Atherton Tablelands Key Biodiversity Area». This KBA is central to one of Tim's main research areas and significant habitats for the trigger species, Sarus Crane, are dependent on agriculture.


Sarus and crocs

Tim now has more than 60,000 field observations from 2 years' field work, as well as significant genetic analysis with international collaborators. He is also exploring community responses to cranes, including farmers with potential crop damage issues, and opportunities for supporting cranes through tourism.

Sarus and freshwater crocodiles (Tim Nevard) →

These are Australian freshwater crocodiles, but Estuarine Crocodiles which occur in Gulf of Carpentaria Sarus breeding areas are potentially a threat to both cranes and researchers!


Report banded cranes...

There are now 5 tagged birds, 4 Sarus and one Brolga. If you see one out there please contact Tim right away, mobile 0457 750003 or email. To help ID the birds in the field, here are their details (with nicknames) –

Field work 2014

Banding Crane

Measuring Sarus. The hood and handling methods are based on welfare practices for catching cranes

During September 2014 Tim and team caught, recorded data and released two Sarus Cranes and a Brolga in the first field exercise for his PhD study into Brolga-Sarus interactions in Australia. Multiple measurements were taken as well as blood samples for DNA analysis of species relationships. As well as colour bands, mini-transmitters were attached for satellite tracking.

Banding Crane

The team started at 3am to ensure the birds were processed and released before the hotter part of the day. The Sarus were caught and released near Kairi, on Lake Tinaroo, Atherton Tablelands and the Brolga was located near Innot Hot Springs, SW of the Tablelands. The birds were in agricultural fields (harvested maize), their favoured feeding habitat in the area – see John Grant's report on his foraging study on Ozcranes, here.

The satellite transmitters are being tested for reception, with some recalibration possible to maximise detections. The first attempt to track an Australian Sarus Crane was by John Grant and team in 2006, this failed probably due to the bird pecking the device immediately after release – for more see John's Ozcranes article.

Sarus released with bands (Tim Nevard)

Banded Crane

More photos

Banding CraneBanding Crane

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