African Crane Sightings

Latest version published by Test Organisation #1 on Mar 26, 2018 Test Organisation #1

The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s (EWT) African Crane Conservation Programme (ACCP) has recorded 26 320 crane sightings in its database from 1978 to 2014. This sightings collection is currently ongoing and records are continuously added to the database by the EWT field staff, various partner organizations and private individuals. Two peak data collection periods were identified: 1994-1996 and 2008-2012 in the dataset. The dataset collection spans five African countries: Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia; 98% of the data was collected in South Africa. Georeferencing of the dataset was verified before publication of the data. The dataset contains data on three African crane species: Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus, Grey Crowned Crane Balearica regulorum and Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus. The Blue and Wattled Cranes are classified by the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable and the Grey Crowned Crane as Endangered. This dataset adds further distribution information about these three threatened species to the GBIF network.

Data Records

The data in this occurrence resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 26,403 records.

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


Download the latest version of this resource data as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) or the resource metadata as EML or RTF:

Data as a DwC-A file download 26,403 records in English (616 KB) - Update frequency: monthly
Metadata as an EML file download in English (11 KB)
Metadata as an RTF file download in English (11 KB)


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Roxburgh L (2015): African Crane Sightings. v2.1. Test Organisation #1. Dataset/Occurrence.


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is Test Organisation #1. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 License.

GBIF Registration

This resource has not been registered with GBIF


Occurrence; Observation; Gruidae; Endangered Wildlife Trust; Aves; Africa


Who created the resource:

Lizanne Roxburgh
Senior Scientist
Endangered Wildlife Trust ZA

Who can answer questions about the resource:

Lizanne Roxburgh
Senior Scientist
Endangered Wildlife Trust ZA

Who filled in the metadata:

Lizanne Roxburgh
Senior Scientist
Endangered Wildlife Trust ZA

Who else was associated with the resource:

Lizanne Roxburgh
Senior Scientist
Endangered Wildife Trust Johannesburg ZA

Geographic Coverage

South Africa, Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya

Bounding Coordinates South West [-36.2, 8.63], North East [4.07, 43.75]

Taxonomic Coverage

As this dataset focuses on crane species, the taxonomic coverage is not diverse. The dataset contains three taxa in one family belonging to the class Aves. Species that are recorded in the dataset are: the Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus (46.47%), the Grey Crowned Crane Balearica regulorum (37.46%) and the Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus (16.07%).

Species  Bugeranus carunculatus (Wattled Crane),  Balearica regulorum (Grey Crowned Crane),  Anthropoides paradiseus (Blue Crane)

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 1978-04-24 / 2014-12-31

Sampling Methods

All sightings have been recorded on an ad hoc basis across the regions and projects. However, they were collected from areas where crane studies or conservation projects were being undertaken at the time. All reported sightings, with sufficient information to be meaningful, were captured opportunistically. Generally sightings of cranes within this dataset are from roadside collections. For this reason the dataset has a correction field to correct for distance and direction from the location of the recorder. The sampling was often concentrated around the location where EWT field staff was based within project areas, but this also corresponds with the core regions for cranes.

Study Extent The study covers five countries in Africa (Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia). South Africa is the best-represented country in terms of data, this is due to the fact that the EWT’s ACCP has been a full time conservation programme in South Africa since 1994. The fewest sightings were recorded in Uganda. However, short term projects in Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda have been funded over the last 20 years, and as a result, crane records have increased.
Quality Control The dataset has gone through a cleaning and georeferencing process to ensure GPS points and location information is accurate (10 % of the data were removed through this process due to inaccurate GPS coordinates; missing locality information or if it generally lacked the information for the observation to be meaningful). Taxonomic and vernacular names were checked for consistency in naming and any errors were corrected. Terms in the dataset are in accordance with those set by the Darwin Core (DwC) Standard (Darwin Core Task Group, 2009).

Method step description:

  1. Observations of crane species were incorporated into the dataset by the EWT employees, which included sightings that were reported by the general public as well as by EWT staff or partner organizations. Data were only included in the dataset if there was sufficient information (e.g. GPS coordinates, individual specifics, number of individuals seen etc.). Details of the sightings were recorded, which included: age class (adult, juvenile, or chick), number of individuals, their activity (breeding, feeding, flying, roosting) and group type (single, pair, single/mixed species flock or family). All coordinates were provided in decimal degrees, datum WGS84. Other location details were also recorded (country, province/district, specific locality, and aspect).

Additional Metadata

Purpose Cranes are iconic species and are often used in many areas as flagship species to gain recognition and support for conservation and biodiversity efforts (Harris & Mirande 2013). In South Africa, the Blue Crane is the national bird while the Grey Crowned Crane is the national bird of Uganda. In Zambia, the Wattled Crane is the emblem of BirdWatch Zambia, the BirdLife partner in this country. It is vital that the conservation and monitoring of these threatened species is continued to aid effective conservation and mitigation strategies. According to Morrison (2015), some of the most pressing knowledge gaps regarding Grey Crowned Cranes are national level population size estimates and knowledge about habitat requirements and the extent of (remaining) suitable habitat. The African Crane Database contains a variety of types of data on cranes, including sightings, breeding and threats to breeding sites, aerial surveys, satellite tracking, and mortality data. The publication of the sightings data from this database will hopefully encourage further contributions of crane data from across the African continent to the Crane Database, ultimately allowing for some of our knowledge gaps to be filled.
Maintenance Description Data collection in the field is ongoing and data is uploaded to the African Crane database on a monthly or quarterly basis
Alternative Identifiers