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Red-crowned Crane - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by edenwatcher
Nr Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan, February 2008
Grus japonensis


Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Tsurui--Tsurui Ito Red-crowned Crane Sanctuary, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan, 21 February 2019

Length: 138–152 cm (54¼-59¾ in); wingspan 220–250 cm (86 ½-98½ in); weight: 7000–10,000 g (up to 12,000 g in winter).

  • Overall white plumage including white primaries.
  • Black secondaries and elongated tertials which form a black "bustle."
  • Red skin on crown
  • Black neck and face with white head stripe.
  • Eyes dark brown or dark green.
  • Long dark legs.

Sexes are alike. Immature is similar to adult but head and neck are brownish.


Breeds in Siberia, Hokkaido and Mongolia; winters eastern China, Korea, and Taiwan.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Marshes, river banks, and rice fields.



Their very varied diet consists of fish, amphibians, insects, aquatic invertebrates and rodents. They also eat some plant material such as reeds, grass and rice etc.

Adults in flight
Photo © by Dave Clark
Ito Crane Sanctuary, Tsurui, Hokkiado Perfecture, Japan, 27 January 2016


The clutch consists of 2 eggs.


Mainland populations migratory, divided into three or four wintering subpopulations. Japanese population mostly sedentary.


High-pitched, penetrating calls.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. TrekNature
  3. Archibald, G.W., Meine, C.D. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2017). Red-crowned Crane (Grus japonensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/53564 on 28 June 2017).
  4. BirdLife International 2016. Grus japonensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22692167A93339099. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22692167A93339099.en. Downloaded on 22 May 2019.
  5. Brazil, M. (2018). Birds of Japan. Helm, London. ISBN 978-1-4729-1386-9

Recommended Citation

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