The Action Plan

The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000 was written by Stephen T. Garnett and Gabriel M. Crowley, and produced by Environment Australia and Birds Australia (now BirdLife Australia) with additional support from Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. This Ozcranes page reproduces page 198, the Sarus Crane (Australian) Taxon Summary. More of the Action Plan can be read via Australian Department of Environment publications.

Notes Unlike Sarus Cranes overseas Australian Sarus are rated as ‘Least Concern’ based on international criteria, despite uncertainties on population numbers and threats. The Brolga, although threatened in southern states, is common in Australia overall so did not feature in the Plan. The risk categories are explained in the Plan Introduction. For news of ongoing research about Australian Sarus Cranes including population see Ozcranes research.

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Sarus Crane (Australian)

Taxon Summary

1 Family Gruidae

2 Scientific name Grus antigone gillae Schodde 1988

3 Common Name Sarus Crane (Australian)

4 Conservation Status Least Concern

5 Reasons for listing The population of this subspecies exceeds 3,000 individuals and may be increasing.

Extent of occurrence 500,000 km² medium
trend stable high
Area of occupancy 150,000 km² medium
trend stable high
No. of breeding birds 10,000 low
trend stable high
No. of subpopulations 1 high
Generation time 20 years low

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6 Infraspecific taxa Two other subspecies are found in southern Asia where decline sufficient for global status of species to be Vulnerable.

7 Past range and abundance North Queensland, breeding in coastal regions of Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape York Peninsula, with some birds moving to Atherton Tablelands during non-breeding season. Also, a few records from Kimberley and Northern Territory and as far south as Townsville in Queensland (Marchant and Higgins, 1993).

8 Present range and abundance As above. Roosting flocks on Atherton Tablelands have totalled over 2,000 individuals. No trends have been detected since monitoring began in 1998 (E Scambler).

9 Ecology Sarus Cranes occur in seasonally wet woodlands and grasslands. Most birds are found in coastal regions, but part of the population moves to agricultural land in the dry season, roosting beside nearby wetlands, many of them artificial. Sarus Cranes lay two eggs on a platform of vegetation in grassy sites within woodland. They feed on a range of seeds and small animals (Marchant and Higgins, 1993).

10 Threats There are no imminent threats, though favoured grassy habitat is being invaded by woody shrubs in parts of the subspecies' range (Crowley and Garnett, 1998).

11 Recommended actions 11.1 Continue counts on the Atherton Tablelands.

12 Bibliography

  • Crowley, GM and Garnett, ST. 1998. Vegetation change in the grasslands and grassy woodlands of central Cape York Peninsula. Pac. Conserv. Biol. 4:132-148.
  • Marchant, S and Higgins, PJ (eds) 1993. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Vol. 2. Raptors to Lapwings. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Comments received from Elinor Scambler.

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