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Dance of the Indwe


Dance of the Indwe
Photo Information
Copyright: Willem Botha (whjb) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 51 W: 26 N: 172] (683)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-09-10
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro, 58mm UV
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/800 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): world for two, Gruiformes (Turnalar, Crane-like) [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-09-11 14:07
Viewed: 5753
Points: 16
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The Blue Crane (Anthropoides paradisea), also known as the Stanley Crane and the Paradise Crane, is the national bird of South Africa. It is a tall, ground-dwelling bird of the crane family which stands a little over a metre high and is pale blue-gray in colour with a white crown, a pink bill, and long, dark gray wingtip feathers which trail to the ground.

Blue Cranes are birds of the dry, grassy uplands which feed on seeds and insects and spend little time in wetlands. They are altitudinal migrants, generally nesting in the upper grasslands and moving down to lower altitudes for winter. Many occupy agricultural areas.

Of the 15 species of crane, the Blue Crane has the most restricted distribution of all. While it remains common in parts of its historic range, and between 10,000 and 20,000 birds remain, it began a sudden population decline from around 1980 and is now classified as critically endangered.

In the last two decades, the Blue Crane has largely disappeared from the Eastern Cape, Lesotho, and Swaziland. The population in the northern Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West Province has declined by up to 90%. The majority of the remaining population is in eastern and southern South Africa, with a small and separate population in the Etosha Pan of northern Namibia. Occasionally, isolated breeding pairs are found in five neighboring countries.

The primary causes of the sudden decline of the Blue Crane are human population growth, the conversion of grasslands into commercial tree plantations, and poisoning: deliberate (to protect crops) or accidental (baits intended for other species, and as a side-effect of crop dusting.

The South African government has stepped up legal protection for the Blue Crane. Other conservation measures are focussing on research, habitat management, education, and recruiting the help of private landowners.

The Blue Crane is a bird very special to the amaXhosa, who call it indwe. When a man distinguished himself by deeds of valour, or any form of meritorious conduct, he was often decorated by a chief by being presented with the feathers of this bird. After a battle, the chief would organise a ceremony called ukundzabela – a ceremony for the heroes, at which feathers would be presented. Men so honoured – they wore the feathers sticking out of their hair – were known as men of ugaba (trouble) - the implication being that if trouble arose, these men would reinstate peace and order.

uleko, Argus, metcher has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Love the dance these two birds a doing and the composition really makes this photo sing, good notes as I have never seen these blue cranes before.

Excellent action capture! I like the way you cropped and composed the shot. Great shot and TFS!
Mike

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2006-09-11 15:14]

I've never seen these Blue cranes before - you've captured them beautifully. Very sharp shot and superb colours. It's sad to read that they are threatened! The Common Crane is now flying across us in Scania on their way south to Spain.
TFS and regards, Ulla

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2006-09-11 16:06]

Hello Willem,
This is one of the rare photos where everything in the shot is relevant: the posture of the two cranes, their shadows, the background and colours, all harmonious and sharp. Well done!
TFS, regards, Ivan

great to see these beautiful birds, thanks, Ori

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2006-09-12 7:45]

Beautiful ondulation-movement between both Blue Cranes.Une image très belle.
Regards
Anne

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-09-13 3:28]

A fantastic moment, Willem.
You were at the right place at the right time.
Great job for capturing this interesting and beautiful dance of this mating pair. A rare sight frozen in the moment.
TFS. : )

Hi, Willem.
You have got excellent moment from nature here. Both are in very good pose.

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