SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The Sacramento Zoo now has another new species calling it home! A pair of male and female black-crowned cranes moved into the okapi exhibit, which just opened a few months ago. They have black bodies, white-tipped wings, red and white cheek patches, and a crown of stiff golden feathers.
Kiwi (male) and Siouxsie (female) were introduced to the exhibit earlier last month and can be seen from the okapi observation deck. According to the Sacramento Zoo, mixed-species exhibits are carefully planned and “species are introduced with cautious respect.” So far, the okapi and cranes are getting along well and keeping a “respectful distance from one another.” Senior Animal Care Manager, Melissa McCartney, said, “Forest the okapi, and Siouxsie the black-crowned crane, have even been observed showing their curiosity by ‘booping noses.'”
Kiwi will turn two on June 6 and came to Sacramento from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Siouxsie turned one on April 22 and came from the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus. The birds typically weigh up to eight pounds, are over three feet tall, and have a wingspan of more than six feet. They should live in captivity for around 30 years.
Black-crowned cranes typically mate for life and the hope is Kiwi and Siouxsie will create a bond and become a potential breeding match when they reach sexual maturity in a few years. You should be able to observe them doing ritualistic dances involving bobbing, running, wing flapping, and stick tossing.
The species is native to the wetlands and grasslands in West and Central Africa. They’re listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It’s estimated fewer than 70,000 exist in the world.