Thursday, September 10, 2009

Body language

Cranes have among the largest non-vocal communication repertoires in the animal kingdom. Body language is exceedingly important. Here are a few Sarusy gestures that other cranes would know the meaning of instantly.

Wing half-open, an exaggerated walk with legs raised higher than usual, this crane walks up very meaningfully to another Sarus that had landed uncomfortably close to an active nest. The interloper got the message rather quickly!

Crane employ a large number of threat postures increasingly aggressive in their meaning. This female (right extreme) gives a classic ruffle-threat combined with a bow to the pair adjacent to her territory while her partner engages them at closer quarters.

This rare bow-threat is carried out with elan and grace successfully dissuading a pair flying overhead from landing in this crane's territory.

large body size and incredible physical prowess poses a great risk of physical injury should they need to joust physically each time a disagreement occurs. Non-vocal postures with specific meaning, like the three above, are a safer alternative for all concerned.

(Photographs information: Top: 10 Ju
l 2008, Mainpuri district; middle: 28 Nov 2008, Etawah district; bottom: 07 Sep 2009, Farrukhabad district.)


  1. Yo! Nice photos. When are you going to post one of the pink headed duck ;-))

    I lost the email you sent- so email me again!!


  2. Excellent post Gopi. The amount of information we don't know about birds is astonishing. I thank you for treating us with good information and exceptional photos of the body language itself.