Our History

In 1991, the Overberg Crane Group (OCG) was started as a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO 042-919; PBO 930 009 771), when CapeNature (the conservation authority of the Western Cape) joined forces with the Overberg community, to together promote the conservation of Blue Cranes in the Overberg region.

Over the years, the OCG has enjoyed a number of major successes, but some disappointments too.

We started a ringing project in the 1990s, in which crane chicks were caught at two to three months and individual identification rings were fitted on their legs. This has allowed us to monitor crane movements, and better understand their biology and habits. Cranes are still regularly spotted today with rings on their legs. The Overberg Crane Group played a leading role in the formation of the South African Crane Working Group. We helped to dramatically change the attitudes of the rural community towards cranes. Today the OCG operates with the help of farmers and their staff, who now report problems to the OCG. But this wasn’t always the case, with cranes sometimes considered a pest in the past, as they ‘competed’ with livestock at feeding troughs (see Threats). Much has been learnt about Blue Cranes through research initiated by the Crane Group. We have been instrumental in quantifying the effects caused by power line collisions, land use practices on nesting and breeding success, and cranes at sheep feeding stations. The synchronised moulting of large numbers of cranes and other important issues were documented for the first time by the OCG.


The Overberg Crane Group would not have enjoyed this level of success were it not for its partnerships.

The OCG is affiliated to the International Crane Foundation/Endangered Wildlife Trust Partnership. We work with the African Crane Conservation Programme, which coordinates crane conservation actions in South Africa and throughout the continent.

We’ve also partnered with the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust. This Trust shares many conservation priorities with the Overberg Crane Group.  The Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust protects Renosterveld – a highly fragmented vegetation type, of which very little remains. But Renosterveld provides a home to many bird species – including Blue Cranes and other threatened big birds. The ORCT Project Manager provides extension- and research support to protect Blue Cranes and other big birds.

Other key partners include BirdLife South Africa, CapeNature, SAB Better Barley Better Beer, farmers and members of the Overberg community, who are represented on the Overberg Crane Group’s executive committee. Many of the members contribute on a voluntary basis.


Blue Cranes and other birds are often found dead or injured in the Overberg. Please report dead or injured birds to our OCG Extension Officer, Keir Lynch by email to support@bluecrane.org.za or phone 084 369 0969.


Hundreds of Blue Cranes have had rings placed on their legs over the years. We use these rings to identify Blue Cranes. With this information, we can learn more about them. If you see a Blue Crane with rings on its legs, please let us know.


The Overberg Crane Group is the only organisation dedicated to protecting our Overberg's birds, like Blue Cranes and Cape Vultures. We need your help to protect our threatened bird species from possible future extinction.


There’s a convenient way for bird lovers to note the birds they see – using the BirdLasser app. You can download the BirdLasser app to your cellphone. It’s also a great tool for bird lovers to keep accurate records of their sightings

blue cranes
overberg crane group
overberg cranes
blue cranes in the overberg