Crane, Hamerkop and Storks

The Blue Crane, national bird of South Africa, is one of the smaller cranes of the 15 species worldwide.  They are found only in South Africa, where it is estimated only about 20,000 survive.  The Hamerkop is a medium-sized wading bird with two distinct characteristics besides its visual features. It's closest relative is the pelican, but is placed in its own family category.  Second, it builds huge nest up to 6 feet deep and wide, and weighing up to 100 lbs. They are obsessive nest builders and may build 3-5 nest per year whether breeding or not.  White Storks migrate from Europe to winter in South Africa, and is one of the largest birds in the stork family.  At five feet tall, the Saddle-billed Stork is the tallest stork in the world, and officially Endangered in South Africa.  The Marabou Stork is a massive bird that can reach up to 20 pounds, and sometimes referred to as  the "undertaker bird" because of it's shape from behind.