The cranes are attractive and found in large to very large sizes. Sarus Crane, the world’s tallest flying bird belongs to this species itself. They range in size from 35 inches in length, to 69 inches. They are long-legged and long-necked birds with large rounded wings and streamlined bodies. Cranes birds are actually opportunistic feeders. They change their diet according to the season. They eat a range of items and creatures according to their nutrient requirements. They can eat small-sized rodents, fish, amphibians, and insects, as well as grains, berries, and plants.
Types Of Cranes Birds
Let’s take a look at 10 different types of cranes birds in the world:
1. Siberian Crane
The Siberian Crane, also known as the Snow Crane is a bird that belongs to the family of Gruidae. They are the most distinctive species among the cranes. Adults appear all snowy white, with black primary feathers visible in flight. The eastern population of the birds migrates to China during winter, while the western population flies off to Iran and India. Among all the other cranes, they are known to make the longest distance migrations.
2. White-Naped Crane
The White-naped Crane, also known as Grus vipio is a large bird that is approximately 44–49 inches long, and 4ft tall. These birds weigh about 5.6 kg with grey and white striped neck, pinkish legs, and a red face patch. The majority of White-naped Cranes breed in northeastern China, southeastern Russia, and northeastern Mongolia. During winter, different groups of birds migrate to the Yangtze River, Korea, and Japan. Some of them can also be seen in Kazakhstan and Taiwan. Their diet includes mainly insects, seeds, roots, plants, and small animals. Due to ongoing overhunting in some areas, the White-naped Crane is marked as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
3. Black-Necked Crane
The Black-necked Crane is a medium-sized crane, usually found in Asia and Tibetan Plateau. During winters, they migrate to remote parts of India and Bhutan. This medium-sized crane appears grey with a black neck and head. Their crown is naked and dull red. The tail is black. The Black-necked Crane is 55 inches long with a 7.8 ft wingspan. It weighs only 5.5 kg. Both sexes appear similar in terms of looks. Some populations of the bird are known to make seasonal migrations. However, the fact is revered in Buddhist traditions. It is celebrated in a festival in Bhutan, while the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India considers it as the state bird.
4. Red-Crowned Crane
Red-crowned bird is the largest East Asian crane. It is actually the rarest cranes in the world. In some parts of the world, it is known as a symbol of longevity, fidelity and luck. It is named after its natural patch of red bare skin on the crown. The patch seems to become brighter in the mating season. These birds are snow-white in color, with a black patch on the wing and white tail feathers. Male birds are black on the throat, cheeks, and neck, while females are pearly gray. It belongs to the category of largest cranes, measuring 4 ft 10 inches to 5 ft 2 inches tall.
5. Wattled Crane
The Wattled Crane, scientifically termed Bugeranus carunculatus is the largest bird found in Africa. Measuring 5.74 ft long, it is the largest crane found in the south of the Sahara desert. It is indeed the second-tallest crane bird after the Sarus Crane with a 7.5-8.5 inches long wingspan and 6.4–9 kg weight. The Wattled Crane is found in eleven sub-Saharan countries, including Ethiopia, Zambia, and the Okavango Delta of Botswana. However, the Wattled Cranes have a significant range in the much larger area including coastal West Africa.
6. Black Crowned Crane
The Black-Crowned belongs to the crane family Gruidae. It is found in dry savannah in Africa. These species are related to Grey Crowned Crane. It prefers wetter habitats for foraging. In fact, it is the only crane that can nest in trees. It is about 3.3ft long with a 6.2 ft wingspan and 3.6 kg weight. Similar to all other cranes, the Black-crowned cranes diet mainly on insects, small mammals, and reptiles. Currently, it is endangered in the west due to habitat loss and degradation.
7. Grey Crowned Crane
The Grey Crowned Crane also belongs to the Gruidae family. It occurs in south of the Sahara, and nests in mild to low wetter habitats. It is also found in marshes, grassy flatlands, lakes in Uganda and Kenya, cultivated lands, and south to South Africa. Apparently, this species in Cranes do not migrate from one place to another. It has a breeding display that involves dancing, jumping, and bowing. It has a distinctive booming call and honking sound. Dancing is an integral part of the courtship between two sexes, but also may be done at any time of the year.
8. Sandhill Crane
The Sandhill Crane occurs in North America and extreme northeastern Siberia. It has a red forehead, a long dark pointed bill, and white cheeks. It keeps its long neck stretched and straight in flight. On the other hand, immature birds have grey underparts and reddish-brown upper parts. The size of this crane bird varies among the different subspecies. The average height ranges from 2.6 to 3.9 ft with a 16.5–24 inches wingspan and 3.9–10.4 inches tail.
9. Whooping Crane
The Whooping Crane is the tallest crane bird found in North America. The species is named after its whooping sound and is currently put under the category of endangered birds. In 2003, there were only 153 pairs of whooping cranes. The lifespan of this species is estimated to be 22 to 24 years. The breeding population migrates in the winters to Gulf coast of Texas, USA, Sunset Lake in Portland, Isla San Jose, Matagorda Island, and portions of the Lamar Peninsula and Welder Point.
10. Sarus Crane
Last but not least! Sarun Crane is the world’s tallest flying bird. It is a non-migratory crane, often found in parts of Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, and Australia. This tallest bird stands 5.9 ft high. The Sarus Crane is easily distinguished from other cranes due to its grey color and redhead. The diet consists of tubers, insects, crustaceans, and small vertebrate prey. In India, Sarus Crane is considered a symbol of marital fidelity. The main breeding season is during the rainy season. Unfortunately, the number of Sarus Crane birds has subsequently declined in the last century. In fact, it has been estimated that the current population is perhaps 2.5% less than the existing numbers in the 1850s. In India, it lives in agricultural lands in close proximity to humans.
These were the top 10 different types of crane birds that you would come across. A bit of research will help you know more about their geographical reach, habitat, and migrating seasons. Most of them are endangered and preserving their habitat should be the topmost priority.