The blue crane (Anthropoides paradiseus) is well known as the national bird of South Africa and its image is seen on official documents, stamps and coins. With its graceful neck and long, flowing tertial wing feathers that drape on the ground the blue crane is a most elegant bird. Males and females look alike. Blue cranes are endemic to southern Africa and have the smallest geographic range of all crane species. Although a ground-dwelling bird, it can fly at speeds of 60 – 70 km/hour, often in large V-formations.

The blue crane is also known as the Stanley or paradise crane, and in local South African languages as the bloukraanvoël (Afrikaans), indwe (amaXhosa and Zulu), or mogolodi (Sepedi). Globally the 15 existing crane species are among the most threatened birds.


HESC maintains a strict policy of no contact or interaction with animals kept on the property. Our policy is aligned with international trends based on animal ethics and welfare and is aimed at ensuring the safety and health of both animals and visitors. Our policy further endorses the right of animals to live a life without fear, which is often the consequence of close contact with humans with whom they are not acquainted. We avoid human-imprinting, whereby the animals will identify more with humans than with their own species and cause them to become problem animals once released.