Brolga

Brolga is a large, beautiful Australian grassland bird.

Famous for their spectacular courtship dancing, brolgas (Grus rubicunda) are impressively large birds like jabirus.


Even though the two are not related - the first is a stork and the second belongs to the crane family.

Side Profile of a Brolga Walking Near a Pond (Grus Rubicundus)
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Large Wetlands Birds
One of the largest Australian birds, they are up to 140cm tall grey birds with red head and neck. They are mainly found in wetlands in northern Australia but they also inhabit grasslands in the inland Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales, where they can be seen walking slowly with head down, picking up seeds, shoots and insects.

Side Profile of a Brolga Walking in a Field (Grus Rubicundus)
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Life-long Pair Bonds
They live in life-long pair bonds and are often seen in pairs, but can form large flocks of up to 12,000 birds in wetlands during the dry season. In the wetlands, their nests are often mounds of vegetation, but on the arid land sometimes no more than a few sticks and grass. Female lays two eggs in November and both sexes incubate the eggs. They perform a broken-wing display when a predator is approaching the nest. Chicks can leave the nest only a few days after hatching, but remain hidden from predators in the vegetation for a while.

A Brolga Reaches with Its Beak Behind Its Wing
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Beautiful Courtship Dance
They are known for their courtship dances, it is really quite a performance with two large graceful birds dancing on the open plains. They shake their wings, bow their heads and throw grass in the air, then step forward and back, leap into the air and float back to the ground. Because dancing maintains the pair bond, you can see it at any time of the year, but more often during the breeding season.

Brolga Crane at the International Crane Foundation, Baraboo, Wisconsin
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Good Places to See Brolgas
They are not rare to see anywhere around wetlands and on the open grasslands. Some good places to see them include Lakefield National Park, Atherton Tablelands and Townsville Common in north Queensland, and Mary River National Park in the Northern Territory.















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