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7

Brolga

(Grus rubicunda)
Alternate name(s): "Native Companion", "Australian Crane"
Aboriginal name(s): "brolga", "burralga" [gamilaraay, yuwaalaraay], "burraalga" [yuwalayaay], "baralga" ("poralka")

Size: 80 cm - 1.3 m; wing span 1.7 - 2.4 m
Weight: 3.7-8.7 kg

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Brolga at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

ADULT

MALE

Dorsal view of a male Brolga (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Victoria Highway, NT, April 2018]

Direct comparison of a male Brolga seen from behind with a Little Egret (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Wyndham, WA, January 2016]

FEMALE

Lateral view of a female Brolga in lush pasture; note the small dewlap (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Murrumba Downs, near Brisbane, QLD, July 2017]

Lateral view of a female Brolga (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Bollon, QLD, June 2019]

Near-dorsal view of a (due to the small dewlap probably female) Brolga in lush pasture (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Murrumba Downs, near Brisbane, QLD, July 2017]

Near-dorsal view of a female Brolga - for those who are not familiar with the size of Brolgas: this bird is about as tall as a man
[Wetlands of Capricorn Resort, Yeppoon, July 2009; see credits page for details]

Female Brolga preparing for landing (photo courtesy of C. Charles)
[Diamantina Lakes NP, QLD, August 2013]

Direct comparison between a female Brolga, back, and an adult Sarus Crane, front (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Croydon, QLD, September 2019]

Frontal view of a (female?) Brolga in flight (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Leanyer Swamp, Darwin, NT, July 2019]

Frontal view of a (female?) Brolga in flight (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Leanyer Swamp, Darwin, NT, July 2019]

PAIR

Lateral view of a pair of Brolgas on a paddock - the male, with the larger dewlap, is seen in the foreground, the female behind
[Wetlands of Capricorn Resort, Yeppoon, July 2009; see credits page for details]

Lateral view of a pair of Brolgas in grassy downs in a riverine wetland (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Gwydir Wetlands, near Moree, NSW, April 2014]

Near-dorsal view of a pair of Brolgas (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Knuckey Lagoon, Darwin, NT, June 2020]

Near-dorsal view of a pair of Brolgas on a shallow riverine wetland (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Gwydir Wetlands, near Moree, NSW, October 2013]

Near-dorsal view of a pair of Brolgas
[Wetlands of Capricorn Resort, Yeppoon, July 2009; see credits page for details]

Dorsal view of a pair of Brolgas; male in front, female behind (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Victoria Highway, NT, April 2018]

Pair of Brolgas on the edge of a billabong (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Kakadu NP, NT, November 2014]

Near-dorsal view of a pair of Brolgas in flight (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Knuckey Lagoon, Darwin, NT, June 2020]

Distant view of a pair of Brolgas in flight; this is the pair whose calls were recorded on 20 August 2014 over a distance of at least 0.5 km
[Holmes Jungle NP, NT, August 2014]

Sex unknown

Small group of Brolgas and Sarus Cranes, with a juvenile Sarus Crane on the right; note the large number of birds in the background (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[100 km NW of Croydon, QLD, October 2014]

Lateral view of Brolgas in flight (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Diamantina NP, QLD, September 2019]

Part of a flock of about 80 Brolgas in flight (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Gwydir Wetlands, near Moree, NSW, October 2013]

Brolgas preparing for landing (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Gwydir Watercourse, near Moree, NSW, November 2013]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Frontal view of an immature/juvenile Brolga, left, in flight with one of its parents (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Leanyer Swamp, Darwin, NT, July 2019]

Lateral view of a female Brolga with a juvenile in tow (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Bollon, QLD, June 2019]

Dorsal view of a juvenile Brolga (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Bollon, QLD, June 2019]

Breeding information

Pair of Brolgas, possibly working on a land-based nest (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Kakadu NP, NT, July 2020]

Pair of Brolgas, possibly working on a land-based nest, with one bird carrying a stick (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Kakadu NP, NT, July 2020]

Brolga carrying a stick, possibly working on a land-based nest (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Kakadu NP, NT, July 2020]

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Communal Mobility: Sedentary/dispersive Elementary unit: Pair/flock

As part of their mating ritual or an attempt to attract a partner, pairs - and even groups - of Brolgas perform a nuptial dance. Click here for a photo sequence of a dancing pair.

Pair of dancing Brolgas (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Fogg Dam NR, NT, August 2013]

Brolgas can be found in a surprising variety of habitats.

Male Brolga venturing from a lake into dry surrounding country dominated by Galvanised Burr (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Lake Bindegolly NP, near Thargomindah, QLD, June 2020]

Male Brolga venturing from a lake into dry surrounding country dominated by Galvanised Burr (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Lake Bindegolly NP, near Thargomindah, QLD, June 2020]

Pair of Brolgas on a cotton farm in inland NSW (photo courtesy of R. Druce)
[Near Harparary, 40 km south of Narrabri, NSW, February 2013]

Brolgas in a shallow ephemeral wetland (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Gwydir Watercourse, near Moree, NSW, November 2013]

Another example of Brolgas in a commercial crop (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Gwydir Wetlands, near Moree, NSW, October 2013]

Brolgas in submerged, possibly tidal, grassland (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Cox Peninsula, near Darwin, NT, August 2019]

Brolgas in rank grassland (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Diamantina NP, QLD, September 2019]

Food, Diet

Brolgas are omnivorous, feeding on plants, insects and other small animals, including crustaceans.

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

brolga_20140820.m4a (Darwin, NT) Pair Q&A (in-flight; distant) © MD
brolga_20190621.m4a (NW NSW) ? (very distant) © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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