Issued by authority of the African country of Eritrea, this beautiful uncirculated crown features the Wattled Crane. The Wattled Crane, largest of Africa’s cranes is also the rarest, numbering 10,000 birds at most. Within southern Africa the Wattled Crane has a fragmented range. One population extends from Natal to the eastern Transvaal and Swaziland. A second population occurs in the Zimbabwe highlands. All these birds are more or less resident and inhabit permanent wetlands while other populations are nomadic. Wattled Cranes breed only in wetlands with breeding pairs maintaining a territory, so that nests are always at least 1,500 feet apart. The nest is a large mound of grasses placed on a tuft, surrounded by open water. One or two eggs are laid, but only one ever hatches, the other being abandoned. This seems wasteful, but if Wattled Crane chicks are put together they fight to the death. The little chick is covered in yellowish down and looks rather like a duckling. It can walk and swim right away, and follows its parents closely. They teach it to feed on bulbs, worms and insects by probing into the soft surface of the soil. If danger threatens the chick hides under a grass tuft and the parents walk away to distract the intruder. The chick grows rapidly, and is as tall as its parents at three months and can fly at four months of age. It stays with its parents until they are ready to breed again, when they drive the chick away. Not all chicks survive, and many hazards await them. Even before an egg hatches it may be lost to a predator. After hatching the chick is vulnerable to fire, for the nesting peak is in mid- winter when grass fires are frequent. Wattled Cranes can look forward to a long life once they have achieved maturity with an average lifespan of twenty to thirty years and with a maximum of eighty years having been recorded.