Brolga: Australian Bird (Video)

The Brolga is a very unusual bird of Australia; the bird was originally named the “Australian Crane” back in the 1800’s by an artist John Gould. I don’t know why the name was changed. The Brolga is a wetlands bird and is very common, although in the Southern States for some reason the numbers are not so good. What makes this bird so unusual is its dancing ritual which it uses for mating as well as protecting its bit of ground, which you will see in the video below.

Australian Brolga Grus rubicunda

Australian Brolga The classic 1865 brolga illustration by John Gould (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Brolga is a very pretty pearl grey or silver grey, in colour and is part of the crane family, it grows up to 1.3 meters or 4.3 feet in height, it has a wing span up to 2.4 meters or 7.9 feet, their weight is around 3.7 to 8.7 kg or 8.1 to 19.2 pounds. The male weights slightly more than the female. The Brolga has a very pretty wide red band around their neck; the young birds do not have this band it is developed later as they become adults.

English: Brolga (Grus rubicunda) at Healesvill...

English: Brolga (Grus rubicunda) at Healesville, Victoria, Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another unusual aspect of this bird is its mating season. It doesn’t actually have one, mating depends solely on rainfall, so depending on which part of Australia the bird is in mating is from February to May or September to December for the Southern States. The nest is built by both male and female, and is a raised mound built with sticks, uprooted grass, mud etc. and is always located in wetlands in shallow water or occasional floating.

A Brolga at International Crane Foundation, Ba...

A Brolga (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The famous dance begins with a bird picking up some grass and tossing it into the air, catching it in its bill, and then progresses to jumping a metre into the air with outstretched wings, then stretching, bowing, walking, calling, and bobbing its head. Sometimes just one Brolga dances for its mate; often they dance in pairs; and sometimes a whole group of about a dozen dances together, lining up roughly opposite each other before starting.

I found a great article about this bird if you would like to learn more in ABC Science.

Other posts you may like from my blog:

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68 Responses to Brolga: Australian Bird (Video)

  1. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words says:

    Beautiful and Graceful birds..
    in Japenese culture if you create 1000 origami cranes… will be granted a wish
    I always thought a wonderful site to see a thousand cranes in different colors floating from a ceiling…

    Thank you for sharing Mag!
    Take Care…

  2. Pam says:

    This reminds me of our sandhill cranes here in Florida. Love the birds!

  3. Madhu says:

    I always learn something new when I visit your site Mags! Beautiful bird.

  4. “The famous dance begins with a bird picking up some grass and tossing it into the air…”

    I imagine that “trilling call sound” is equivalent to our version of, “Let the games begin!”

  5. viveka says:

    We have something very similar in Sweden – in April – – when the Cranes dances … enjoy! Look alike too. Thanks for this interesting post …

  6. I love the way their necks go up and down and the sound they make. It’s so amazing how every species is programmed differently. It’s really so divine.

  7. niasunset says:

    Dear Mags, how beautiful birds they are… I watched the video and their dance is amazing, I read the article too… I haven’t known them before, Thank you, they impressed me so much. Love, nia

  8. I love wildlife, especially birds, this one so beautiful! Thanks for sharing mags!

  9. Mags – I know a couple of men who perform similar mating dances…

  10. Colline says:

    So interesting to read and watch Mags.

  11. aFrankAngle says:

    Now there’re two big birds, plus a dance I doubt I will see ever on the ballroom floor. 😉 In case you didn’t get the news, there was a very strange bird sighting at yesterday’s US Open.

  12. robincoyle says:

    A brogli . . . what?

  13. Elyse says:

    Such beautiful, graceful birds. Thanks for sharing them with us, Mags.

  14. Nice footage, fun facts! I was in Alsace-Lorraine when I saw two storks dancing in unison on a rooftop. It was fascinating! Thanks for sharing.

  15. reb says:

    Very graceful bird … loved that dance! Interesting, I’d never heard about it before.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi reb,
      They are very interesting, there are references to this bird in some of the Aboriginal rock art, and the aboriginals also have a dance in celebration of this bird. Also it is Queenslands bird emblem. (That is the state of Australia that I live in.)

  16. We have these great blue herons here and when they fly over, they resemble teradactyls – or at least what I interpret them to look like. Amazing birds.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi writingfeemail,
      I have seen photos of the Blue Herons, they are a magnificent looking bird, if I remember correctly they have slanted type of feathers, and also a large wing span, although I don’t remember the size.

  17. Linda Vernon says:

    They are beautiful. It would be so thrilling to see one in the wild! And to get to see the mating dance would really be something! It does look like a crane only the body seems a lot heavier. And somehow it looks like a native bird of Australia even if it doesn’t have a pouch! 😀

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Linda,
      Yep no pouch in this one, and you won’t believe it but these birds are not dangerous, unlike the others that have been mentioned on this blog, so we do have some non-dangerous wildlife as well, not many I admit. 😆

      • Linda Vernon says:

        Not dangerous! No venomous bite? Are you sure they are native to Australia! LOL 😀

        • magsx2 says:

          I know it is hard to believe, but there you are not even those nasty huge sharp claws that the other birds (Casowary, Emu) tear you apart with, although it is rare for an Emu to attack, but the Brolga is just a very nice bird to admire. 😀

  18. always l see something new when I visit your site This is beautiful and very interesting blog.Thanks for sharing them with us, Mags.

  19. Brolga that is one interesting species of bird,have never heard of it before..enjoyed watching their dance..for most interesting informations trust Mags 🙂

  20. barb19 says:

    They are such beautiful, graceful birds; I haven’t heard of them before Mags, so thanks for the info and the great video of them dancing!

  21. Another educational blog, Magsx2! Thank you! A couple things that occurred to me watching the video: the Brolga’s head makes it look like it might have crossed with a turkey at one time; if I had a pet Brolga, I’d name it Olga – Olga the Brolga; I think it’s funny how crane “knees” bend in the opposite direction of ours!. 🙂 Also, the references to the paper cranes reminded me of an artist I once met, Judy Dunn, who makes polymer cranes. The first link is to her multi-colored cranes, and the 2nd shows photos of a project she started to make cranes, each with the name of a soldier killed in Iraq (I can’t find anything else about the project, so I’m guessing she may not have got the funding that she needed to complete it). (Yoko Ono’s site)

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi AA,
      I never thought it, but you are right about the turkey especially with the funny little piece under the beak. 🙂
      I clicked over and had a look at the web sites:
      I loved Judy Dunn site, magnificent Origami Cranes, done in clay too, very nice.
      It does seem like she ran out of funds for the project which would of been huge, a great idea doing them in wax paper they would certainly last a long time.

      • I’m glad you enjoyed her site, Magsx2. I just love the patterns on her cranes. They’re really pretty and unique. It’s funny because AA Hubby and I were just talking about making paper cranes the other day. He’s never done origami, but I used to make those cranes all the time as a “youngster.”

        • magsx2 says:

          I remember doing a bit of origami as a child, but not much, but for those that have a gift for it, like the ones in your link, just fantastic pieces of art.

  22. adinparadise says:

    How beautiful and dainty these birds are. Loved the video. 😉

  23. Fergiemoto says:

    A lovely bird. Almost looks like the Red Crowned Crane (Japanese crane). I love Japanese Cranes, they have a beautiful mating dance. For an anniversary one year, hubby gave me a stunning woodblock print from Japan of Japanese Cranes performing a mating dance. The title of that artwork is “Dance of Eternal Love.”

  24. snowbirdpress says:

    From the description it sounds a lot like a crane, but once I saw the head up close, I am pretty sure the name was changed because it may not contain all the genetic factors needed.

  25. Selma says:

    It’s a bit like a ballet in a way. Elegant, amazing birds!

  26. The word brolga is a version of the native name for the bird, so it’s considered more authentic. Compare how the country that for the first part of my life was called Rhodesia (named by the British for a Briton) went back to being Zimbabwe after independence from the British.

    Steve Schwartzman

  27. Isn’t Brolga it’s Aboriginal name? I always thought that it was. Once men learn that dancing is an essential mating ritual, they might start doing more of it. Keep showing them, Mags!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Lady Marilyn,
      I also thought that Brolga was aboriginal but I couldn’t find a reference to it at all, I did search for awhile but of course found nothing. 🙂
      I agree with you about the dancing. 😀

  28. Very neat to see this! They look very much like the Sandhill Crane we have here!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Michael,
      Yes they are part of the crane family. Isn’t wonderful with all the different species of cranes, that each one of them seems to be slightly different. 🙂

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