The Grey Crowned Crane is globally restricted to Africa, with its distribution not having changed much over the last century. The South African population, along with the population in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zambia make up the smaller of the two subspecies, the South African subspecies (Balearica regulorum regulorum). Within South Africa, the Grey Crowned Crane is restricted to the moist eastern, higher-rainfall areas, from the Eastern Cape throughout the western parts of KwaZulu-Natal and north-eastern Free State, into the south-eastern areas of Mpumalanga. This species is most abundant in the higher altitudes of the north Eastern Cape/East Griqualand, KwaZulu-Natal midlands, and from Wakkerstroom to the north-east Free State. In the Free State, its breeding range has contracted to the north-east, while it no longer breeds in the Northern West Province.