Red-crowned Crane

North Asia


Grus japonensis


  • Habitat destruction
  • Climate change
  • Increasing human activities in the area

The Red-Crowned Crane is a large, long-legged, and long-necked bird species from the Gruidae family. Its other names include the Manchurian Crane or Japanese Crane. It is considered as one of the largest and rarest cranes in the world. It is famous for being a symbol of fidelity, longevity, and luck.

It is an omnivorous, aquatic crane that can be found in China, Japan, Mongolia, and Russia. It forages in deep freshwater environments such as in marshes, rice paddies, and cultivated fields. Its body is well adapted to cold temperatures. It is a migratory creature although those found in Japan are non-migratory. It feeds on aquatic invertebrates as well as rice, crop fruits, and small reptiles.

Adults are snow white in colour with black necks and tails. It has an olive green bill. Its red bare-skinned crown turns brighter during mating season. It is very communal but very monogamous, establishing lifelong bonds with its partner and with its group. The most obvious reason for its population decline is loss of habitat. Most of its breeding and wintering grounds are destroyed or shrinking, unable to sustain large numbers of its species. Increasing human activities and climate change also affects its natural lifecycle. Sand mining has seriously changed the water flow of freshwater environments which limits the food sources of the Red-Crowned Crane.