Singing the blues
Issue 2 (May 2008) Ten years after it was first tagged in Etosha a rare Blue Crane bird has been traced.


The bird was found with 37 others in Southern Oponono – possible the largest flock of blue crane ever spotted in Namibia. The sighting brings new hope for the endangered species which was thought to have almost disappeared in the country.

Traditionally the Blue Crane breeds in Etosha during the rainy season, and a survey in April 2006 counted 87 birds in and around the park. It was a few months later that a single bird was caught and a radio transmitter attached to its leg. To researchers’ dismay the signal was quickly lost.

Over the last decade, during a succession of dry years, sightings of Blue Cranes have become so erratic in Etosha that researchers took to the skies in a light aircraft to see if they could track the birds down, never thinking they would find the tagged bird.

It’s hoped that this year’s heavy rains will prompt the Blue Crane to return in larger numbers to Etosha.

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