The bird genus 'Balearica' (also called the crowned cranes) contains two extant species in the crane family 'Gruidae': the black crowned crane and the grey crowned crane.

The species today occur only in Africa, south of the Sahara Desert, and are the only cranes that can nest in trees. This habitat is one reason the relatively small Balearica cranes are believed to closely resemble the ancestral members of the Gruidae.

Like all cranes, they eat insects, reptiles, and small mammals.

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