Fun Brolga Bird Facts For Kids

Christian Mba
Jan 11, 2023 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Aug 27, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
To explore more about this bird, read these brolga bird facts.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.1 Min

The brolga (Grus rubicunda or Antigone rubicunda) is known to be one of the two crane species found in Australia. The range of the brolgas consists of Australia, New Guinea and are also recorded as a rare vagrant in New Zealand and western Australia.

They are commonly found throughout Queensland and parts of western Victoria. Brolgas are known to be one of the largest flying birds in Australia.

The habitat these birds inhabit include grassy plains, open wetlands, watered farmlands, and also coastal mudflats. During the breeding season, these birds can be found in shallow marshes on a small island.

In southern Australia, breeding takes place from September to December whereas, in northern Australia, it happens late around February and June. As a part of their courtship displays, these birds perform dance displays and dancing could be done either in pairs or in groups. These birds are quite territorial.

The brolga's food consists of crustaceans, mollusks, lizards, frogs, and insects. The food also includes leaves and shoots of upland and wetland plants and cereal grains.

The brolgas can commonly be spotted in pairs or families. Some interesting features about these brolgas are that these birds are popular for their dance displays and are known to be the official bird emblem of Queensland. The name has been derived from aboriginal Gamilaraay.

It is very fascinating to learn about the brolga (Grus rubicunda or Antigone rubicunda) and check out these articles if you would like to read about rufous hummingbird and pheasant, too.

Brolga Bird Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a brolga bird?

The brolga bird is a type of bird.

What class of animal does a brolga bird belong to?

It is placed under the class of Aves of birds.

How many brolga birds are there in the world?

The population of this species is considered to be higher than 10,000 individuals.

Where does a brolga bird live?

The geographic range of this bird consists of Australia, New Guinea and is also been recorded as a rare vagrant in New Zealand and western Australia. It is commonly found throughout Queensland and parts of western Victoria. It is known to be native to Australia.

What is a brolga bird's habitat?

The habitat of this bird consists of grassy plains, open wetlands, watered farmlands, and also coastal mudflats.

This bird is also known to inhabit shallow water marshes on a small island during the breeding season and builds its nest in these marshes. The number of brolgas is considered to be the highest in floodplains with dominant grassland habitats and it is believed that the largest flocks of this species are also spotted in grassland habitats.

The young birds from the past and some other non-breeding adults do not have a breeding territory.

Who does brolga bird live with?

During the breeding season, these birds can be spotted in pairs, whereas, in the non-breeding season, these birds tend to form large flocks. It has been recorded that in southwestern Queensland, around 26-40 % of crane sightings in Flinders and Gilbert River floodplains were family groups or breeding pairs.

How long does a brolga bird live?

The exact lifespan of this bird is not known, but it is believed that these birds may live for about seven years or more.

How do they reproduce?

In the southern regions of Australia, the breeding season of these birds takes place between September to December and in northern Australia, breeding occurs late, that is around February and June.

These birds are known to engage in courtship rituals and these rituals consist of dance and the dance tends to involve bowing, bobbing heads, and jumping with wings that are outstretched.

The call produced to attract a mate is a loud call that sounds like a trumpet. Dance could be done in pairs or groups.

These birds mate for life. Around two eggs that are cream in color and have red markings are laid in the nest. Incubation is done by both the parents for about 28-32 days.

These birds are very territorial when nesting. The chicks are raised by the parents for almost a year and these chicks can fly in around two weeks.

What is their conservation status?

 These birds are placed under the Least Concern category of conservation status.

Brolga Bird Fun Facts

What do the brolga birds look like?

This tall bird has a sleek, slim neck and a large beak. The legs of this bird are known to be like a stilt.

The sexes are known to look alike, but the females tend to be a bit smaller than the males. The adults have a green-gray plumage, coral red, and featherless throat pouch, face, and cheeks.

The crown is covered with the skin and other parts are olive green in color of the head. The gular pouch in adult males is densely covered with bristles and thus, looks black in color.

The long and thin beak of this bird is also gray-greenish. The iris of this bird is orangish-yellow. There are dull margins on the back and wing feathers.

The primary wing feathers are known to be black, whereas, the secondary ones are gray. The feet and legs are also gray-black.

The ear coverts of this bird look like gray-colored patches of feathers and are bordered with naked red skin. The juveniles of this bird do not have red skin and their heads are fully feathered and tend to have dark-colored iris.

This bird is often confused with a sarus crane. It can be easily spotted by observing the birds' beak, tall body, small head, and slim neck with stilt legs.

 

How cute are they?

These bird species are not considered cute as they are quite tall and lanky.

How do they communicate?

Communication occurs through different types of sounds and calls produced. The calling of the brolgas sounds like a trumpet.

How big is a brolga bird?

It is believed that these birds can grow up to 28-55 in (0.7-1.4 m) tall. The wingspan is around 5.6-8 ft (1.7-2.4 m).

How fast can a brolga bird fly?

The flying speed of this bird is not known. According to the manual of avian body mass, the brolga is considered to be the heaviest flying species found commonly in Australia. It has a slightly higher mass than the Australian pelican and black swan, but other heavy species like the wandering albatross are also vagrants.

How much does a brolga bird weigh?

The weight of this bird ranges from 11-15 lb (5-7 kg). Males tend to weigh around 15 lb (7 kg) on average, whereas, a female may weigh around 12.5 lb (5.6 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males and females of this species do not have any particular name.

What would you call a baby brolga bird?

Baby birds, in general, are known as chicks.

What do they eat?

The diet of this bird is omnivorous and it tends to feed on crustaceans, mollusks, lizards, frogs, and insects. The food also includes cereal grains, as well as, leaves and shoots of upland and wetland plants. In northern Australia, it is known to feed on tubers.

Are they dangerous?

Not much is known about the brolgas (Antigone rubicunda or Grus rubicunda) being dangerous or not.

Would they make a good pet?

Not a lot is known about these birds as pets. It is best to leave them in their natural habitat.

Did you know...

Since 1977, the brolga is known to be featured on the Queensland Coat of Arms and in January 1986 was stated as the official bird emblem of Queensland.

This species was first described in 1810 by a naturalist named George Perry.

It is recorded that when first described, this species was classified as a member of the genus Ardea, to which egrets and herons belong.

The name brolga is derived from aboriginal Gamilaraay burralga and brolga was made the official name by the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union in 1926.

The brolga bird (Antigone rubicunda or Grus rubicunda) was considered to be the only species of crane until 1961, after which the sarus crane, the other one of the two crane species was also found in Queensland.

Not only the appearance but also the social unit of this bird is considered to be quite similar to that of a sarus crane.

Molecular studies state that brolgas are closely related to the white-naped crane as compared to a sarus crane.

In Birds of Australia by John Gould, an ornithologist, this species is named the Australian crane in 1865.

Brolgas are considered to be non-migratory but known to move to different areas based on seasonal rainfall.

Why do brolgas dance?

Brolgas dance together as a part of courtship displays in order to attract mates and their dances include bowing or bobbing heads. The dancing is done in pairs or in family groups.

Are brolgas Endangered?

No, brolgas are neither Endangered nor Extinct. The status of the brolgas is known to differ from state to state but it is listed as Threatened in the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1988).

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our argus pheasant facts and red owl facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable four calling birds coloring pages.

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

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Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

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Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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