Mated white-naped cranes practice “calling” behavior as their first chick scampers below them at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo. Photo by: Julie Larsen Maher.
“Calling” behavior means that mated cranes call in unison while standing upright with their heads pointed to the sky. The behavior is thought to help build the pair-bond. The 21-year-old male in this photo is named Wingman, his 18-year-old mate is named Crystal. They have been mated for less than a year, but have produced their first chick.
Native to Asia (from Russia to China to Japan), white-naped cranes Grus vipio are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List; they are threatened by habitat loss, mostly due to draining of wetlands for agriculture and development. Total population is estimated at 6,500.
The WCS Bronx Zoo uses incubation and hand-rearing to build a strong captive population to help ensure the species’ survival.
To see more photos of birds from around the world: Birds.