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15 crane species

Altogether 15 different crane species live on our planet, which are distributed over five continents. All belong to the bird order Gruiformes and the bird family Gruidae. Their size, age, distribution and threat status vary from species to species. The smallest crane species has a size of only 90 cm (Demoiselle Crane), while the biggest species (Sarus crane) can reach a size of up to 175 cm, which is similar to the body size of adult humans. All crane species are connected with wetlands, which are necessary for breeding and to raise their juveniles. This dependency from wetlands, which are threatened in many regions, often leads to a population decrease in many crane species.

Eurasian (Common) Crane
© Dr. Günter Nowald
  • Scientific name: Grus grus
  • Body size: 120 - 130 cm
  • Population size: 590,000 – 660,000
  • Breeding distribution: northern Eurasia (Western & Northern Europe, European Russia, Western and Central Siberia; ssp. grus), Turkey & Caucasus (ssp. archibaldi)
  • Winter distribution: Iberian Peninsula, France, Germany, northern Africa, Turkey, SW Asia, Indian Subcontinent, China, Eastern Africa (mainly Ethiopia)
  • Subspecies: two (grus, archibaldi)
  • Threat status (IUCN): non-threathened

     

 

Sandhill Crane
© Carl-Albrecht von Treuenfels
  • Scientific name: Grus canadensis
  • Body size: 90 - 120 cm
  • Population size: 670,000-830,000
  • Breeding distribution: arctic and subarctic North America, Eastsiberia (ssp. canadensis), mid-continental NW North America (ssp. tabida), southern Georgia and Florida (USA; ssp. pratensis), SE Mississippi (ssp. pulla), Cuba (ssp. nesiotes)
  • Winter distribution: lake Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Indian Subcontinent
  • Subspecies: five (canadensis, tabida, pratensis, pulla, nesiotes)
  • Threat status (IUCN): non-threatened
Demoiselle Crane
© Carl-Albrecht von Treuenfels
  • Scientific name: Anthropoides virgo
  • Body size: 90 - 100 cm
  • Population size: 200,000-240,000
  • Distribution: Northwest Africa (extinct?), Ukraine and southern Russia, Central and East Asia
  • Winter distribution: lake Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Indian Subcontinent
  • Subspecies: none
  • Threat status (IUCN): non-threatened
Blue crane
© Carl-Albrecht von Treuenfels
  • Scientific name: Anthropoides paradiseus
  • Body size: 100 - 110 cm
  • Population size: 25,000-30,000
  • Breeding distribution: South Africa, Namibia
  • Winter distribution: South Africa, Namibia (non-migratory)
  • Subspecies: none
  • Threat status (IUCN): threatened
Wattled Crane
© Dr. Günter Nowald
  • Scientific name: Bugeranus carunculatus
  • Body size: 120 - 150 cm
  • Population size: 6,500-8,100
  • Breeding distribution: Ethiopia, eastern South Africa, central and southern Africa
  • Winter distribution: Ethiopia, eastern South Africa, central and southern Africa (non-migratory)
  • Subspecies: none
  • Threat status (IUCN): threatened
Siberian Crane
© Carl-Albrecht von Treuenfels
  • Scientific name: Leucogeranus leucogeranus
  • Body size: 120 - 140 cm
  • Population size: 3,500-3,800
  • Breeding distribution: Western Siberia (nearly extinct), Northeast Siberia
  • Winter distribution: Iran, lake Poyang/China
  • Subspecies: none
  • Threat status (IUCN): critically endangered
Hooded Crane
© Carl-Albrecht von Treuenfels
  • Scientific name: Grus monacha
  • Body size: 95 - 115 cm
  • Population size: 11,550-11,650
  • Breeding distribution: NE China, SE Russia (Siberia)
  • Winter distribution: China, Korean peninsula, Japan
  • Subspecies: none
  • Threat status (IUCN): threatened
Whooping Crane
© Carl-Albrecht von Treuenfels
  • Scientific name: Grus americana
  • Body size: 130 - 150 cm
  • Population size: 300-310
  • Breeding distribution: Wood Buffalo National Park (Canada), Florida, Wisconsin
  • Winter distribution: Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (Texas), Florida
  • Subspecies: none
  • Threat status (IUCN): endangered
Black Crowned Crane
© Dr. Günter Nowald
  • Scientific name: Balearica pavonina
  • Body size: 90 - 100 cm
  • Population size: 33,000-70,000
  • Breeding distribution: Western Africa (ssp. pavonina), Eastern Africa (ssp. ceciliae)
  • Winter distribution: Western Africa (ssp. pavonina), Eastern Africa (ssp. ceciliae), non-migratory
  • Subspecies: two (pavonina, ceciliae)
  • Threat status (IUCN): threatened
Grey Crowned Crane
© Anne Kettner
  • Scientific name: Balearica regulorum
  • Body size: 105 - 110 cm
  • Population size: 32,000 – 49,000
  • Breeding distribution: southern Africa (ssp. regulorum), East Africa (ssp. gibbericeps)
  • Winter distribution: southern Africa (ssp. regulorum), East Africa (ssp. gibbericeps)
  • Subspecies: two (regulorum, gibbericeps)
  • Threat status (IUCN): endangered
Sarus Crane
© Robert van Zalinge
  • Scientific name: Grus antigone
  • Body size: 145 - 175 cm
  • Population size: 24,300-26,800
  • Breeding distribution: Pakistan, Northern India, Nepal (ssp. antigone), Indochina and Myanmar (ssp. sharpie), northern Australia (ssp. gilliae)
  • Winter distribution: Pakistan, Northern India, Nepal (ssp. antigone), Indochina and Myanmar (ssp. sharpie), northern Australia (ssp. gilliae), mainly non-migratory
  • Subspecies: three (antigone, sharpii, gilliae)
  • Threat status (IUCN): threatened
Brolga, Australian Crane
© Carl-Albrecht von Treuenfels
  • Scientific name: Grus rubicundus
  • Body size: 125 cm
  • Population size: 35,000-100,000
  • Breeding distribution: Australia, northern New Guinea
  • Winter distribution: Australia, northern New Guinea (partly non-migratory)
  • Subspecies: non
  • Threat status (IUCN): non-threatened
White-naped Crane
© Dr. Günter Nowald
  • Scientific name: Grus vipio
  • Body size: 135 - 140 cm
  • Population size: 5,500-6,500
  • Breeding distribution: Mongolia, NE China, Far Eastern Russia
  • Winter distribution: Yangtze basin/China, Korean peninsula, Japan
  • Subspecies: none
  • Threat status (IUCN): threatened
Red-crowned (Japanese) Crane
© Dr. Günter Nowald
  • Scientific name: Grus japonensis
  • Body size: 140 - 160 cm
  • Population size: 2,510-2,600
  • Breeding distribution: NE China, SE Russia (Siberia), Hokkaido/Japan
  • Winter distribution: eastern China, Korean peninsula, Hokkaido/Japan
  • Subspecies: none
  • Threat status (IUCN): endangered
Black-necked Crane
© Carl-Albrecht von Treuenfels
  • Scientific name: Grus nigricollis
  • Body size: 125 - 135 cm
  • Population size: 10,000-11,000
  • Breeding distribution: northernmost India, West and Central China
  • Winter distribution: Bhutan, NE India, southern Tibet and SW China
  • Subspecies: none
  • Threat status (IUCN): threatened

Data about the threat status are taken from the IUCN red list (www.iucnredlist.org).

Information about the population size of different crane species originate from the International Crane Foundation (www.savingcranes.org).

© Crane Conservation Germany 2017

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