Overberg's Blue Cranes
Did you know?
Blue cranes mate for life and dance with each other to seal the relationship.
Blue crane viewing in the Overberg region is a major attraction for visitors to the Western Cape. Overberg bird conservation took off in 1991 when Cape Nature Conservation and the Overberg community established the Overberg Crane Group (OCG) to promote the conservation of cranes within the region east of Cape Town.
Overberg birding is generally very rewarding for local and international birdwatchers. Besides the sought-after cranes, keen birders should keep their eyes peeled for Stanley's bustard, Cape vulture, Agulhas long-billed lark, Cape spurfowl and southern tchagra.
The Overberg, meaning 'over the mountain', consists of large agricultural fields, which form the modern day habitat of the blue crane. While about 22 000 of the elegant birds remain common in big areas of their historic range, there has been a sudden population decline in the last 25 years and the crane is now classified as vulnerable.
The primary causes of the decline are human population growth, the conversion of grasslands into commercial tree plantations and sadly, poisoning.
The OCG is currently trying to determine the conservation status of the blue crane. They are also aiming to reduce crane mortalities, address problems that the big birds cause to farmers, monitor the effectiveness of present conservation methods and promote the long term survival of blue cranes outside of nature reserves.
Valuable information can be gathered through blue crane viewing in the Overberg, especially when people take the time to report their sightings.
The blue crane is very special to the Xhosa people of South Africa. When a Xhosa man distinguishes himself through deeds of valour, or any form of meritorious conduct, he is presented with the feathers of this bird by the local chief, a practice that continues to this day, although to a lesser degree than in the past.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Overberg Crane Group
Tel: +27 (0) 82 695 9835
Tel: +27 (0) 83 540 4575