This species, which at a height of up to 1.8 metres is the tallest of the flying birds, has been frequently recorded in in Rakhine State and the Irrawaddy delta, but is very rare in northern Myanmar. Previously only very small groups of 2 – 3 individuals have been spotted in Indawgyi, but never before has such a large group been seen.
Sarus cranes are large non-migratory birds found in parts of the Indian Subcontinent, Indochina and Australia. Sarus cranes in Myanmar belong to the subspecies of the eastern sarus crane Grus antigone sharpii that formerly occurred throughout Indochina.
The number of Myanmar’s total bird species will reach 1,114, including new species found within the late five years. Forty-nine are in danger of extinction, a bird observation agency said at a conference last year.
Over the last fifty years it has been decimated throughout this range, but still occurs in smaller numbers in Myanmar, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Eastern sarus cranes in Yunnan Province (China) and Laos are either rare or recently extirpated, while the eastern sarus in Thailand was thought extirpated in the mid-20th Century.
The crane is threatened with extinction due to loss of habitat and grassland, hunting and destruction of its nests. The habitat situation is narrowed due to human encroachment, climate change has depleted water resources and food sources have been gradually pushing this rare bird to the edge of extinction.
FFI is now planning a specific sarus crane survey, to gain greater knowledge and help determine the threats to the species. “We have alerted local communities not to destroy their nests or to attempt to catch the cranes,” says Ngwe Lwin, who is educating local communities.
According to Fauna & Flora International