Information about the Bird and its Habitat, Courtship plus More Facts

More about the Crane:

Information about the Crane and its Habitat, Courtship plus More Facts

The Whooping Crane - A Rare and Endangered Bird

Demoiselle Crane - The Smallest of all Cranes

Crane History and Legend

Home to more interesting bird information and facts

Picture of Grey Crowned Crane
How do I look today? Picture of Grey Crowned Crane checking himself out in a car wing mirror.

Picture of Sandhill Crane
Picture of Sandhill Crane.

The Crane is the Old German, Kraen. Both the English and Old German names are a pictorial rewriting of the loud and harsh trumpeting tone, which is typical for the European Crane.  In French the crane is known as Grue, in Spanish Grulla and in  Greek Gearanos.

Cranes are the Gruidae family of birds, which is part of the order Gruiformes.  There are about 15 species of crane.

They are large, tall and mainly terrestrial birds (generally from 85 to 175 cm).  With a long neck and long legs, they have a graceful stature, with a mainly grey or white plumage,  some having chestnut tones.  They are somewhat similar in appearance to herons but differ by the Crane's larger size and shorter bill.  Some Crane species, for example the Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum) which is picured on this page have an ornamental feather crest in the area where the head meets the back of the neck.

Crane Habitat

Representatives of the Crane family are found on all continents of the earth except in the Antarctic and South America.  Cranes were once far more common than today but their population numbers  are reducing throughout the world, much of the reason being because the areas of peaceful and calm habitat which they need to live in are declining.  The greatest diversity of Crane species are found in Asia, with relatively large numbers also being found in Africa.

They are birds who like grassy wetlands and wide, open areas of water, for example shallow lakes and marshland or wide, slow-moving rivers. They move in elegant strides with their long legs and gather seeds and insects with their long bills. They are gregarious birds who live in flocks and communicate between themselves using noisy vocalizations.  Many of them, are migratory birds, who travel long distances.  Their flight is a graceful sight to see, with their neck extended and their wide wings slowly but powerfully propelling them.

Cranes are opportunistic feeders.  They change their diet depending on seasonal conditions. Thus they eat fish,  small rodents,  and amphibians, but change over to grains and berries during the late summer and autumn.

Crane Courtship Display and Nest

They have a spectacularly complex and loud courtship display. The males and the females stretch their necks and open their wings, both bobbing and jumping up and down whilst calling to each other. Cranes have a very long windpipe and emit acute trumpeting sounds which can be heard two kilometers away.  Objects like twigs are sometimes grabbed by the beak and thrown high into the air.

Once they have chosen a partner they will stay together for life in a monogamous, pairing.  The Crane's nest is constructed of mud and vegetation in the marshy regions where it inhabits.  A relatively dry spot is usually selected where the herbage is not particularly high.  Generally two eggs are laid, which are then incubated for around 30 days.  The chicks hatch with downy feathers and can soon follow the parents.  The young birds receive the care and attention of both the mother and father Crane.

Next... The Whooping Crane - A Rare and Endangered Bird


Home to discover more interesting information at the Wonder of Birds

This page ©