Zoo faces

Zagreb, capital of Croatia, is a bustling city of old and new — ornate buildings dating to its boom period as part of the Austria-Hungary empire and sleek high-rise skyscrapers built after the Balkan War. There is a lot to explore in Zagreb, and many unique dishes to try, but yesterday afternoon was the time to explore the Maksimir Park Zoo. The zoo exhibits were spacious, nicely landscaped areas with glass separating animals from humans, which allowed me to get some good close-ups. Birds from Europe and Africa were pretty well represented.

Hooded Crows are one of the most numerous birds in Balkan cities. They forage in flocks in open areas, garbage dumps, and gardens — not finicky eaters!
Gray Herons can be found throughout mid-latitude Europe as far east as the Ural mountains. They are the size of North American Great Blue Herons and seem to be the apex predators in European aquatic ecosystems, where they eat anything they come across including baby ducks.
Gray Herons are certainly well-named with all those gray feathers to ruffle and preen.
Eurasian, or Common Cranes are one of four crane species that are not currently endangered. They are about the same size as Sandhill Cranes, and like that species, they breed at higher Eurasian latitudes but migrate to overwinter in more southerly Mediterranean habitats.
White Storks, which we saw a lot of on our spring adventures in Spain, are found in eastern and southeastern (Balkan countries) Europe in the summer, but migrate to central and Southern Africa to spend the winter. They are notable for their rooftop nest creations that may get so large, they encompass entire chimneys.
This poor, bedraggled peafowl male had lost his glorious tail, but still had some spectacular iridescent color in his neck and body feathers. He wandered around in the zoo, free to forage in any penned area he could get into.
Eurasian Spoonbills are common and widespread across Central Europe and Asia, found anywhere there is a good supply of shelled and unshelled invertebrates to feed on. They are not as pretty as their North American cousins, the Roseate Spoonbill, but forage in a similar manner by moving their spatulate bill slowly through the water to “feel” for small fish, crustaceans, etc. swimming nearby that they then scoop up.
I thought these two African (or Gray) Crowned Cranes were the stars of the zoo birds in Zagreb. They are Central African, not Eurasian birds, but their golden crowns, light blue eyes, and red accents on the head and neck make them popular attractions at zoos.
Like other crane species, Crowned Cranes are good dancers during their courtship. I thought this pair might entertain us with some dance moves, but alas, it was just a little chase activity instead.

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