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African Crowned Crane

Native to the dry savannahs south of the Sahara, this species is thought to more resemble it's ancestral members than other cranes. It is the only species of crane that can perch, it's extended back toe enable it to grasp brances. It's call is more of a honking noise, unlike the trumpeting of other crane species.

Tying with African Crowned Crane Feathers

Lots of feathers to like on this bird. The three main subspecies, East, West and South birds all resemble each other with darker or lighter grey parts and the Southern species being slightly smaller.

Starting at the top, the straw like crown feathers have a slight twist in them with a dark tip. They are rather stiff but will make an interesting set of horns on a creative salmon fly. Also, they can be bunched together and used as an under wing. The tiny black head feathers that feel like velvet, can be used for a chatterer style of body or tag, packing them in and giving the appearance of chenille. The grey body, neck and back hackles will make excellent body ribbing hackles.

There are also steelhead applications that make these feathers very useful. The dark chocolate wing quills marry well and are long enough for a 6/0 wing. The smaller tips of these feathers will make great wet flies with dark brown wings. Lots of white wing feathers both over and under the wings can be dyed any color imaginable and used for full feather wing flies.

There are some straw color feathers off the rear of the wings that will have interesting uses for the creative tier. Just about every feather on this bird can have an application to produce some beautiful flies.

  • feathers
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Neck Feathers

These are the mostly green feathers on the neck and shoulders of the bird. There is quite a range in size - very tiny ones up on the neck, larger ones on the shoulders.

 

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Shoulder Feathers

These feathers start on the center of the back and are unique in that they have a thick gold band on the top edge. The rest of is a mixture of a bronze and green irredescent color.

 

 

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Wing Quills

Further down the back, on the rump of the bird, the feathers begin to resemble tail feathers in color and pattern. However, the fibers are softer and the barbs are shorter. They range quite a bit in size, the shortest measuring less than 3", perfect for a wing on a fly.

 

 

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Straw Wing Coverts

The color and pattern of these feathers is almost identical to the actual tail feathers. They vary a bit in lengh but the oceli are mostly uniform on each feather in the fan. Check out the male in full display on the right.

 

 

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Tail Feathers

There are 22 of these spectacular feathers in a full tail fan. The body of the feather is has a finely vermiculated pattern and the oceli on the tips are darker in color than those on the tail coverts.

 

 

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