Exclusive: The National Bird of Uganda; the Golden Crested Crane numbers decreased in Mpigi as many wetlands are degraded by Chinese companies migrating to the Butambala district

By Mugonza Andrew

The National Bird of Uganda, the grey-crowned crane numbers in the Mpigi district have decreased as major wetlands in the district have been degraded by factories.

According to recent research by environmentalists, residents in Mpigi say they take long without seeing the famous golden crested crane, within their localities compared to 10 years ago.

This has been attributed to the increasing level of Wetland degradation mainly by factories built with wetlands increasing air and plastic pollution, dumping of industrial waste and sand mining.

In Lwera Wetland, many companies are mining sand which threatens these birds, and they mainly live in search wetlands where they lay eggs and hatch young ones.

Mr Mukalazi Badru a resident of Ngando village, in Butambala district, told Whisper Eye News that a swarm of crested cranes visited his home during evening hours and he was worried.

“The days I always see a swarm of crested cranes, they normally come to my compound in the evening hours. I find them in my garden which has been not the case. Normally in the past, you could find two or four. But finding a sward of about 30 birds is amazing,” Mr Mukalazi said.

There is a fear that if the ongoing wetland degradation in Mpigi is not worked on, crested crane numbers may drastically reduce threatening their existence.

The crested crane is among the endangered bird species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

According to Nature Uganda, crested cranes are less than 20,000 in Uganda about 25% of the global population, out of the 100,000 that have lived here four decades ago.

They attributed the decreasing numbers to human actions that have led to habitat loss due to their actions like constructing wetlands.

About the grey-crowned crane

The grey crowned crane (Balearica regulorum), also known as the African crowned crane, golden crested crane, golden-crowned crane, East African crane, East African crowned crane, African crane, Eastern crowned crane, Kavirondo crane, South African crane and crested crane, is a bird in the crane family, Gruidae. It is found in nearly all of Africa, especially in eastern and southern Africa, and is the national bird of Uganda.

The grey-crowned crane lays a clutch of 2-5 glossy, dirty-white eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 28–31 days. Chicks are precocial and can run as soon as they hatch. However, they fledge in about 100 days, before these 100 days many chicks are killed. Once they are fully grown and independent, chicks of different sexes will separate from their parents to start their own families.

Grey-crowned cranes have been seen to congregate in large numbers in a ceremony akin to a wedding when two chicks are being married off. The new couple dance for a while before flying off together to start a new family.

The crested crane is on both the National flag and the Cort of Arm. Symbolizes beauty, grace, and national pride, representing the Country’s rich biodiversity and heritage, thus deserves a high level of conservation.