Siberian crane

One of the rarest and most critically endangered crane species in the world

Bernard DUPONT

Siberian cranes are notable for their snowy white plumage, which contrasts sharply with their black flight feathers, visible only during flight. They have a red face and long, slender legs and are among the tallest of the cranes, standing about 140 cm tall. These birds breed in the Arctic tundra of northern Russia, where the landscape is characterized by vast, treeless plains that freeze for much of the year.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the Siberian crane’s life is its long migratory journey. There are three main populations, each with its own migration route: the western, the eastern, and the central. The eastern population travels over 5000 kilometers from northeastern Siberia to winter in the Yangtze River basin in China, showcasing one of the longest migrations of any crane species. Their breeding takes place in the secluded wetlands of the Arctic tundra. These areas provide the isolation and protection needed for the cranes to raise their young. The Siberian crane is known for its fidelity both to its partner and its nesting site, often returning to the same location year after year.

The survival of the Siberian crane faces numerous threats. Habitat loss due to human activity is the most significant challenge. The draining of wetlands for agriculture, particularly along their migratory routes and wintering grounds, has led to a drastic reduction in suitable habitats. Climate change also poses a long-term threat by altering the wetland ecosystems essential for their breeding and wintering.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Afghanistan
2018
Possibly Extinct
Azerbaijan
2018
Passage
China
2018
Hong Kong
2018
Vagrant
India
2018
Possibly Extinct
Iran
2018
Non-Breeding
Japan
2018
Vagrant
Jordan
2018
Vagrant
Kazakhstan
2018
Passage
Korea
2018
Vagrant
Mongolia
2018
Pakistan
2018
Possibly Extinct
Russia
2018
Passage: European Russia
Turkmenistan
2018
Possibly Extinct
Uzbekistan
2018
Passage

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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