Gray crane: photo, lifestyle features

Gray crane: photo, lifestyle features
Gray crane: photo, lifestyle features

This article will talk about one of the most interesting and large birds. This is a crane. In total, 7 species of such birds live in Russia. Of these, the common crane is the most common and numerous.


The common cranes breed in western and northern Europe, in many territories of Russia (up to the basin of the Kolyma river and Transbaikalia), in China and in Northern Mongolia. They are also seen a little in Altai, Tibet and Turkey. In winter, cranes, like most birds, usually migrate south: to East and North Africa, Spain, France, the Middle East, India and China (south and east).

Crane gray

Their nesting places: in swampy areas and in floodplains (wetlands). In case of a lack of wetlands, they can also settle close to agricultural land. Usually, for wintering, cranes choose higher places, rather densely covered with grassy vegetation.

Crane: photo, description

Males and females practically do not differ from each other in appearance. The predominant color of adults is grey. Some feathers are only slightly painted black:flight feathers (primary, secondary, tertiary and coverts), as well as tail feathers (their tops).

There are practically no feathers on the crown of the bird, and the area of ​​bare skin on it is reddish. A gray crane always walks with a red "cap" on its head (the photo clearly demonstrates this).

The lower part of the neck, its sides, part of the head (back) and chin are brownish-black in color. A white stripe stands out sharply on the neck and head of the bird, which runs along the sides of the head to the rear edge, as well as along the outer side of the neck.

Gray crane: photo

This is a fairly large bird: height - 115 cm, and wingspan up to 2 meters. The weight of males reaches 6 kg, and females - slightly less (5,900 kg). The coloring of the plumage allows the bird to disguise itself in the forests from enemies. The beak reaches sizes up to 30 cm. Gray feathers with red endings have a young gray crane. The limbs of the bird are dark.


The gray crane is a monogamous bird. She keeps her mate throughout her life. Only if the female or male dies, then the surviving bird finds another life partner. And another pair can be formed in case of unsuccessful long-term attempts to have offspring.

From April to July is the breeding season. As a rule, a pair is formed before the start of the flight to the place of future nesting. After arriving at the place, the female and male arrange those very peculiar ritual dances. They represent bouncing, flapping wings and an important prancing gait.

Above or near water is selecteda piece of land (relatively dry), necessarily among dense vegetation (thickets of reeds, etc.). This is a place for a nest. The male and female announce the choice of a suitable place in a drawling voice. This is how they mark their territory.

Common crane: habitat

The nest itself is large (more than 1m in diameter). It is built from a variety of materials. The female usually lays 2 eggs. The incubation period lasts up to 31 days. Both the male and the female incubate the eggs. Shortly after birth, the chicks may leave the parental nest. Their full plumage occurs in about 70 days.

Lifestyle features

The gray crane, as noted above, upon arrival at home begins to dance in a peculiar way. He does this either alone or in a pack. During this period, the birds are very careful, so you can watch all this only from afar. Cranes on nesting sites usually never form mass clusters, that is, pairs nest far apart.

The female and male build the nest very quickly and carelessly. As a result, it is just a bunch of brushwood collected from nearby areas. Inside the nest is a tray lined with dry grass. As a rule, older birds occupy their nests (last year). Such a nest can serve a pair of cranes for several years, just every year the birds renew it a little.

Distribution of cranes in Russia

The gray crane in Russia is represented by two subspecies - western and eastern. they differ little from each other. The border of their distribution, as well,as their subspecies independence, has been relatively poorly studied on the territory of the country today. Approximately, we can say that the border that separates these two subspecies extends along the Ural Range. The western subspecies lives in European Russia, and the eastern subspecies lives in Asian.

Gray Crane: Flight

Moreover, it is known that for wintering the gray crane from the European part of the country flies to Africa (Morocco, Egypt, etc.), and from the east (mainly living in Siberia) - to the north of India or China. A small part of common cranes overwinter in Transcaucasia.

In conclusion, the most interesting

At the very beginning of the mating season, common cranes cover their feathers with mud and silt. This allows them to camouflage and hide from predators, making them less visible during periods of incubation and hatching of their chicks.

The gray crane, like other species, begins its flight with a smooth take-off into the wind, accelerating and opening huge wings just before takeoff.

Common Crane: Limbs

Crane cranes are quite omnivorous: they feed on plants (tubers, leaves, stems, acorns, berries, etc.), invertebrates (worms and insects), vertebrates (snakes, frogs, rodents and fish). Also, the crane can feed on grain, even posing a threat to the crop.

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