Balearica

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Balearica
Grey crowned crane at Martin Mere.JPG
Grey crowned crane (Balearica regulorum)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Gruiformes
Family: Gruidae
Subfamily: Balearicinae
Genus: Balearica
Brisson, 1760
Species

Balearica pavonina
Balearica regulorum

Synonyms

Basityto

The bird genus Balearica (also called the crowned cranes) contains two extant species in the crane family Gruidae: the black crowned crane (B. pavonina) and the grey crowned crane (B. regulorum).[1]

The species today occur only in Africa, south of the Sahara Desert, and are the only cranes that can nest in trees. This habitat is one reason the relatively small Balearica cranes are believed to closely resemble the ancestral members of the Gruidae.

Like all cranes, they eat insects, reptiles, and small mammals.

Taxonomy[edit]

The genus Balearica was erected by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760 with the black crowned crane (Balearica pavonina) as the type species.[2][3][4] The name is from the Latin Baliaricus for "of the Balearic Islands".[5]

The crane family (Gruidae) is divided into the subfamily Gruinae of typical cranes and the subfamily Balearicinae of crowned cranes.[6]

Extant Species[edit]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Black Crowned Crane (Balearica pavonina) captive (32172262143).jpg B. pavonina black crowned crane Africa south of the Sahara
Balearica regulorum portrait 3.jpg B. regulorum grey crowned crane east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Uganda, Angola south to South Africa

Fossil record[edit]

Crowned cranes seem to have been more widespread prehistorically. Compared to the true cranes, genus Grus, which were always common in the Holarctic and adjacent regions, the present genus appears to have had a more Atlantic distribution, ranging into Europe and North America; it is not known from the fossil record of Asia.

  • Balearica rummeli (Early Miocene of Germany) – formerly Basityto
  • Balearica excelsa (Early–Middle Miocene of France) – formerly Grus and Ornithocnemus
  • Balearica exigua (Miocene of Nebraska)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "ITIS Report: Balearica". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  2. ^ Peters, James Lee, ed. (1934). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 2. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 154.
  3. ^ Brisson, Mathurin Jacques (1760). Ornithologie, ou, Méthode contenant la division des oiseaux en ordres, sections, genres, especes & leurs variétés (in French and Latin). Volume 1. Paris: Jean-Baptiste Bauche. p. 48.
  4. ^ Brisson, Mathurin Jacques (1760). Ornithologie, ou, Méthode contenant la division des oiseaux en ordres, sections, genres, especes & leurs variétés (in French and Latin). Volume 5. Paris: Jean-Baptiste Bauche. p. 511.
  5. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  6. ^ global A network of scientists and conservationists (1 February 2013). "The Cranes: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan: Evolution and Classification". U.S. Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 20 March 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2014.