Red-crowned crane

A symbol of immortality and peace in many Asian cultures

Known for its striking appearance and significant cultural importance in East Asia, it is one of the rarest and most revered birds in the world. This crane species is celebrated for its beauty and majestic stature, symbolizing luck, longevity, and fidelity. 

Red-crowned cranes are among the largest crane species, standing up to five feet tall and reaching a wingspan of over seven feet. Their name derives from the patch of bright red bare skin atop their heads, which contrasts vividly with their predominantly white body and black neck. The elegance of their long, flowing feathers, particularly during mating dances, adds to their ethereal quality. They are primarily found in large wetlands in East Asia, particularly in areas like Hokkaido, Japan, and parts of China and Korea. During winter, they migrate to lower altitudes, often seen in river valleys and paddy fields. They are omnivorous, feeding on a variety of plants, insects, fish, and small mammals.

Red-crowned cranes are known for their elaborate and graceful courtship dances, which include synchronized bowing, jumping, and wing-flapping, accompanied by a complex series of calls. This dance not only strengthens pair bonds but also reaffirms their territory. With only a few thousand individuals left in the wild, the importance of conservation efforts cannot be overstated. Programs that involve habitat restoration, captive breeding, and public education are actively being pursued, and your contribution can make a significant difference in stabilizing and increasing their populations.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
China
2021
Japan
2021
Korea
2021
Non-Breeding
Mongolia
2021
Breeding
North Korea
2021
Non-Breeding
Russia
2021
Breeding: Eastern Asian Russia
Taiwan
2021
Non-Breeding

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Flock

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No