As with all cranes, the grey crowned-crane is omnivorous and will consume a multitude of different prey types including insects, lizards, amphibians, fish, grasses and seeds (4). The grey crowned-crane prefers to forage in short to medium height grasslands but will also enter cultivated land to forage for crops (5). This generalist diet allows the grey crowned-crane to inhabit various habitats and adapt to environmental changes, and as a result the species has proven adept to colonising human altered landscapes (4) (7).
The breeding season peaks between December and February, but varies hugely between localities in response to rainfall, and may occur year round (2). The nests are constructed along the peripheries of wetlands and consist of uprooted grasses arranged to create a circular platform, usually in an area of dense vegetation, approximately one metre above the ground (2) (4). However, the grey crowned-crane will occasionally nest in trees; one of only two crane species demonstrating this ability, the other being the black crowned-crane (Balearica pavonina) (5). The grey crowned-crane has the largest average clutch size of a crane species at two to three, with eggs incubated for 28 to 31 days, and chicks fledging after 56 to 100 days (5).
The importance and extent of seasonal movements varies between grey crowned-crane populations. The abundance and distribution of food and nesting sites appear to be the main determinant of the timing and extent of migrations, with larger home ranges and seasonal movements in drier regions and areas with low abundance of nesting sites and food (5).