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WATCH: Tallest bird in UK filmed in Norfolk countryside

PUBLISHED: 20:10 16 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:41 17 February 2020

The common crane is the tallest in the UK and in Europe and was filmed between Acle and Billockby, by wildlife documentary maker Liam Smith. Picture: Liam Smith

The common crane is the tallest in the UK and in Europe and was filmed between Acle and Billockby, by wildlife documentary maker Liam Smith. Picture: Liam Smith

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The tallest bird in the UK are the centre of a new wildlife video after making Norfolk their home more than 40 years ago.

Wildlife documentary maker Liam Smith on the location of his latest video. Picture: Liam SmithWildlife documentary maker Liam Smith on the location of his latest video. Picture: Liam Smith

Wildlife documentary maker Liam Smith, who runs the Shot of Wildlife YouTube channel, captured several species of animals while out in the county's countryside including the common crane.

The bird stands at more than four feet tall and has a wingspan of almost eight foot and are considered one of the tallest birds in the whole of Europe.

The flock of cranes, filmed between Acle and Billockby, first came to Norfolk in 1978 from mainland Europe.

Mr Smith said the birds would spend the winter in the UK before flying back in the spring, but did not and over the next years started to breed - marking the first successful nesting in the UK for more than 400 years.

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Mr Smith said: "This was their first successful nesting in the UK for more than 400 years and things have only looked up for them since then.

"Cranes may look like herons and egrets with their long necks and upright posture, but their ecology is quite different. They are omnivores and, with their large pointed beaks they feed on everything from small mammals and invertebrates to grain, fruits, seeds and vegetables. They nest on the ground, and often produce a clutch of just two eggs. Like many other ground nesting birds their chicks are up and able to walk and run from as little as 24 hours after hatching.

"Young birds can start flying from six weeks of age and although this flock are resident all year round, some birds in Europe can migrate distances of more than 2,000 miles."

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He said wildlife lovers can seen more than 40 common cranes in Norfolk, with groups of the bird spreading into Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Suffolk and a small flock in Scotland.

There has also been captive breeding programmes to reintroduce the birds to several counties.

Mr Smith also filmed Chinese water deer and short eared owls.

Watch the full video here.

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