Bird of the Year 2015

Blue Crane IMG5264

Birds are excellent flagship species and valuable indicators of the environment as places that are rich in bird species are often abundant in other forms of biodiversity. The presence of birds indicates a healthy environment and thriving ecosystem. BirdLife South Africa conserves our country’s birds. By focusing on birds, the sites and the habitats on which they depend, BirdLife South Africa hopes to improve the quality of life for birds, for other wildlife and ultimately for people.

Crane PosterEach year a Bird of the Year is chosen by BirdLife South Africa. Bird of the Year is one of BirdLife South Africa’s annual initiatives for creating awareness about birds and bird habitat conservation. Educating people is one of the key components of BirdLife South Africa’s conservation work. The aim of the project is to choose a bird species and focus education and other activities on it during the coming year and improve public awareness about the species and the need to protect the species (and related species) and its habitat.

The Bird of the Year for 2015 is the Blue Crane (Anthropoides paradiseus)

The Bird of the Year 2015 initiative is proudly sponsored by Bidvest Waltons.

For more information about Bird of the Year, please contact Nikki McCartney, Events & Marketing Manager on 083 636 1060 or email

About the Blue Crane

The Blue Crane is South Africa’s national bird and features on the 5 cent piece. As such, it is one of the most recognisable birds in South Africa. Threats include habitat loss, illegal trade, power-line collisions, poisoning and active persecution by landowners. Education and awareness are key to its long-term survival.

Bird of the Year 2015 resources

Fact Sheet Bird of the Year 2015

Lesson Plan 1 - South Africa’s national bird

Lesson Plan 2 - South Africa’s cranes

Lesson Plan 3 - Threats & challenges faced by crane species

Lesson Plan 4 - Conserving cranes

Activity 1 - Crossword and word search

Activity 2 - Colouring in pages

Activity 3 - National Icons research

Activity 4 - Crane Snap

Activity 5 - Life of a crane

Activity 6 - Taking action for cranes Bird of the Year 2015 Cartoon Posterird of the Year 2015 Cartoon Poster

Previous birds of the year

2014 - Tristan Albatross
2013 - White-winged Flufftail
2012 - African Fish Eagle
2011 - Barn Swallow
2010 - Lesser Flamingo
2009 - Cape Robin-chat
2008 - Spotted Eagle-Owl
2007 - African Penguin

For more information about the Bird of the Year initiative, please email