Those majestic birds are considered a symbol of happiness, loyalty and longevity. Breeding takes place in Russia and China, on swampy meadows and reeds. There, the birds have a big, positive impact on the rodent and insect populations that they feed on. During the migration period and wintering, cranes appear on coastal wetlands, where they search for their delicacies such as crabs, fish and nereid. They also feed on plantations and crop fields, where they are exposed to chemical poisoning.
Females lay two eggs and the chicks hatch at the same time but usually only one of them survives. The young crane then leaves the nest after roughly two months. Cranes reach maturity before the age of 2.
Thanks to their large size (height of 1.5m and wingspan of 2.5m) and a strong beak they have no natural enemies. Despite that fact, the Red-Crowned Crane is an endangered species. Turning the wet meadows and reeds into agricultural areas and regulating rivers makes their breeding grounds to disappear slowly. Fortunately, international agreements and education programmes are being carried out to protect this valuable species.
Did you know? – Despite appearances, crane’s tail is not black but white. The admirable black tuft of feathers is formed by the wings’ secondary and tetriary quills.
- Latin name: Grus japonensis
- IUCN Red List – E – Endangered
- CITES – Apendix I