"Spear Crane colonies function like a miniature hoplite society, with hundreds of walking troops equipped with large and sharp spears. They can easily decimate entire populations of smaller creatures, and often do so. As a result, they are sadly an invasive species that threatens many species of fish and other small aquatic creatures, and often times we must with a heavy heart, curb their growth. It's a shame, but it's the only viable option given to us currently."-William Tancard's: Guide to Haven's Glorious Creatures.
The Spear Crane is a common species of semi-aquatic Gruidae (crane) birds native to the many temperate sandy beaches and shorelines located all across planet Haven. They have a global population of around, ten million individual birds and are often times found in large groups of hundreds or more. Their name derives from the way they hunt small fish along the shallow waters, spearing them through with their large beaks.
Due to their commonality, and their very effective way of hunting, the Spear Crane often times endangers many fish species that live in warm, shallow waters in near shore lines. As a result ,the Spear Crane has been labeled as an: "invasive species" in some areas of Haven, and special permits are handed out to select individuals to hunt the bird and control the population as to not allow them to endanger too many fish species.
The Spear Crane has a baseline physical appearance much akin to that of the many other species of Gruidae (crane) birds located through out Haven, with an upright, bipedal build, and two large wings located at the sides of their bodies. However they are fairly small and light weight compared to most other crane species on Haven, only standing at an average height of around seventeen inches (forty-three centimeters), and an average weight of around fourteen pounds (six kilograms), making them one of the smallest and most lightweight species of crane in the world. It will typically take around half a standard year for a Spear Crane to fully develop into adulthood.
They, while having flyable wings, they are almost an entirely terrestrial and aquatic bird, as they often times just simply walk and or swim to their respective destination, only flying when they are endanger from an attacking predator. As a result, they are extremely fast runners and swimmers, being able to clock speeds up to thirty-five kilometers an hour at full speed. However the lack of flying also has the added effect of making their flight speed fairly unimpressive, only reaching speeds up to ten kilometers an hour, which is very slow compared to other crane bird species.
Spear Cranes do not have an exceptionally great sight or hearing range, only being to see up to half a kilometer away, as well as only being able to hear things relatively close by. However, what they lack in range they more then makeup for in precision, as the eyes and ears of an individual Spear Crane bird have evolved to be finely tuned to detect the most faint sights and sounds coming from the waters they patrol. A Spear Crane's eyes also have the unique function of being able to pierce through the dust and other debris that would otherwise obscure one's vision of the surface of the water.
Their feathers are extremely thin, with the exception of their wings, and often times there will be several Spear Crane's with patches of their bodies that lack any feathers, giving them a very patchy-looking appearance. These feathers also remain the same as they had the moment they hatched, with leading to the species haring a universal trait of thin feathers. Thanks to this, the Spear Crane are not able to live in colder regions, as they lack very sufficient inclination and would otherwise easily freeze.
As previously mentioned, their name derives from the long, spear-like beak they have at the center of their face, which the Spear Crane uses as a weapon to catch small species of fish that swim along the shallow, warm waters of various beaches and coastlines. Their beaks are extremely durable and sharp, and the individual Spear Crane is able to use them with great force, thanks to the many vertebra located at the base of their neck, striking at a target with great speed and forces up to three hundred pounds per square inch, almost functioning akin to that of a hydraulic press. As a result, the Spear Crane has one of the most powerful beaks among birds of their size, environment and likeness.
The Spear Crane share a universal behavior of walking along the shallow waters of a shoreline leading into the ocean, scanning their eyes across the water's surface to detect small prey. Once a Spear Crane pierces a fish they will then run to a designated location, then proceed to bury the respective fish under a thin layer of sand, then will return to the water to do so again. They will continue to do so for several hours, until' it begins to grow tired, then they will return to its designated spot and begin to feed on the various fish they caught, afterwards they then will bury the fish remaining back up and sleep in a spot relatively close by.
During breeding season, a male Spear Crane will begin to catch as many fish as they possibly can, often times extremely exerting themselves in the process. Once they gather a horde of fish of at least fifty, they will then attempt to locate a female Spear Crane by emitting a loud bellowing like cry. Once a female Spear Crane is located, the male will most likely have to fend off various other male Spear Crane suitors, and once a winner is determined, then the male will bring the female to his respective fish horde. Like most crane species, the two Spear Cranes will form a life long monogamous bond with each other, and will also have several clutches of eggs together, usually have around thirty-two individual clutches throughout their entire lives.