Brolga FAQ 1
The Brolga Grus rubicunda is an icon bird for Australians, and the only crane found in New Guinea. Australia also has Sarus Cranes Grus antigone, so an earlier common name for Brolgas (Australian Crane, attributed to John Gould) is confusing.
Here in Brolga FAQs Part 1, Ozcranes looks at size, calls, location and numbers. An introduction to Brolgas and Sarus Cranes, including comparison photos, is on Ozcranes Australia/New Guinea Cranes Intro page.
- Height: 140cm
- Wingspan: 1.7m-2.4m
- Weight: 3.7kg-8.7kg
- Bill: 14.8cm-16.6cm
↑ Brolga in flight, wingspan up to 2.4m (Rob Gray)
Male Brolgas are larger than females. Australian Sarus Cranes are slightly larger» than Brolgas. Other sites: photo of zoo ranger kneeling beside male Brolga. Brolga with two young soliciting food from camper – excellent view of Brolga size and food begging behaviour (but Brolgas can be aggressive, Ozcranes doesn't recommend feeding wild birds).
Northern and Eastern Australia; and southern central New Guinea lowlands (PNG and Irian Jaya Province, Indonesia). Some also along the Sepik River in northern PNG. Not in Tasmania, but occasionally a Brolga strays to New Zealand. Few on the northern tip of Cape York, but sometimes seen in the Torres Strait. No known migration or interbreeding between Australian and New Guinea Brolgas.
← Brolgas in the second Birds Australia Atlas 1998-2002
Many sighting locations (white dots spread across north and east). But breeding records few, except in the SE corner where Brolgas are threatened and intensive nest searches are done. Nest searches in the tropical north are difficult due to flooding seasonal rains. Maps and information are now on-line at the Birds Australia Atlas Database.
← Brolgas in New Guinea from HANZAB2
Hatched grey area shows main Brolga distribution in PNG and Irian Jaya, the Trans-Fly basin. Breeding grounds: white patch. Some Brolgas also on the Sepik River, northern PNG. The Trans-Fly is a waterbird refuge during drought in northern Australia, whether this includes any Australian Brolgas is still unknown. There's also the question, where do New Guinea Brolgas go during drought there?
Australia: up to 100,000. PNG and Indonesia: Unknown. A clearer total is unlikely due to the problem of searching remote areas of Australia and New Guinea simultaneously (surveys at different times risk double counting, or missed birds, due to birds moving around).
- Some Surveys
- Southern Australia (current): max 1,000
- N Qld Crane Count Oct 2007: 4,580
- Mandora Marsh, NW Australia 2000: 3,600
- Kakadu early 1980s: 24,000
- Cromarty, N Qld 1969: 12,000