Today’s feathery friend is the beautiful Brolga.
- The brolga is a type of crane who live in the wetlands of Australia, a part of New Guinea and can even sometimes be found in New Zealand
- The average height of an adult brolga is 1.3 metres
- Adult brolgas are silvery-grey with bright scarlet heads
- Brolgas stay with the same mate for their entire life
- It is thought that brolgas have a lifespan of about 7 years in the wild
- Brolgas are reknowned for their intricate and involved courtship dance
- Brolgas build nests that are large mounds or platforms in the wetlands that they live in and these nests can be up to 1.5 metres in diameter, with both parent helping to construct it
- The female lays a clutch of 2 eggs which both parents help to incubate
- Brolgas do not migrate but they do relocate in accordance to the rain
- Whilst not endangered, brolga numbers are dwindling due to loss of habitat and climate change
There are many different cultural variations on how the brolga was created, but all have a similar theme. Here is one of them:
Brolga was once a beautiful girl who loved to dance and she was the most graceful and elegant dancer that had ever lived. One day she danced away from the safety of her tribe and an evil spirit saw her. The evil spirit wanted her for himself so he turned himself into a willywilly (whirlwind) and engulfed Brolga and swept her up. Brolga’s tribe had noticed her missing and had come looking for her. They follwed the track of the willywilly for many days until they finally came across the evil spirit holding Brolga captive. Brolga’s tribespeople rushed to attack the spirit and free her and the evil spirit quickly realised Brolga’s tribe would overpower him and take Brolga from him. He was angry and jealous and decided that if he could not have Brolga all to himself then noone could have her ever. The evil spirit swept Brolga up in another willywilly so that her tribe could no longer see her. The tribe watched the willywilly rush off into the distance and noticed that where Brolga had been there was now a lovely, tall grey crane. The crane started to dance and Brolga’s tribe knew that the crane was Brolga.
For more Dreamtime stories and beautiful artwork – Dreamtime Kullilla Art