The sarus crane is the tallest flying bird in the world (some adult males reaching up to 1.8 metres tall).
It is widely believed that the sarus pairs for life and that death of one partner leads to the other pining to death. Apparently, this bird was a close contender to the Indian peafowl as the national bird of India! (And no, neither of these species procreate through tears, as stated by someone in the recent past.. LOL )
The wonder they are, definitely deserve a long write-up.
The Sarus Cranes are observed to be largely non-migratory. Sarus is the state bird of Uttar Pradesh, India.
The Indian sarus crane population is found in Northern and central India, Pakistan and Nepal. The eastern sarus crane population was historically found throughout Southeast Asia but unfortunately is now confined to Cambodia and Vietnam, with a small population in Myanmar. And the Australian sarus crane population is found in northern Australia
Sarus has always been at the center of India’s culture, legend has it that the poet Valmiki cursed a hunter for killing a sarus crane and was then inspired to write the epic Ramayana. It is known that the meat of the sarus was considered taboo in ancient Hindu scriptures. They are a symbol of marital virtue, to an extent where in parts of Gujarat, it is a custom to take a newly wed couple to see a pair of sarus cranes!
You must witness the Sarus cranes loud trumpeting calls, they are mind blowing! Pairs indulge in spectacular displays of calling in unison and posturing. These include “dancing” movements that are performed both during and outside the breeding season and involve a short series of jumping and bowing movements made as one of the pair circles around the other. Exact same movements are depicted in many traditional dance forms across India. Next time around, I’ll film it and share.
This species is classified as ‘Vulnerable’ by IUCN, thanks to the habitat loss caused by we humans. More facts about this tall wonder @ www.arkive.org/sarus-crane/grus-antigone/
PS: Please bear with the quality of this image! Nevertheless, don’t miss the water droplet at the tip of the male’s bill..