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< > Grus japonensis - Red-crowned crane (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)

Red-crowned crane. Click here for full-page view with caption. Red-crowned crane. Click here for full-page view with caption. Red-crowned crane. Click here for full-page view with caption. Red-crowned crane. Click here for full-page view with caption. Red-crowned crane. Click here for full-page view with caption. Red-crowned crane. Click here for full-page view with caption. Red-crowned crane with egg and chick. Click here for full-page view with caption. Red-crowned crane with young chick. Click here for full-page view with caption. Red-crowned crane chick. Click here for full-page view with caption. Grus japonensis drop-wing threat. Click here for full page view with caption. Grus japonensis - preen threat. Click here for full-page view with caption. Grus japonensis - crouch threat. Click here for full-page view with caption. Red-crowned crane. Click here for full-page view with caption. Red-crowned crane distribution map. Click here for full-page view with caption.










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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Japanese crane
  • Manchurian crane
  • Mantchurian crane (B474)
  • La Grue de Japon (B474)
  • Ardea (Grus) japonensis (B474)
  • Japan crane (B474)
  • Grus japonensis (B474)
  • Grus viridirostris (B474)
  • Grus collaris (B474)
  • Antigone montignesia (B474)
  • Grus montignesia (B474)
  • Grus leucogeranus (B474)
  • Grus leucauchen (B474)
  • De chineesche Kraanvogel (Dutch) (B474)
  • der mandschuren Kranich (German) (B474)
  • la Grue de Montigny (French) (B474)
  • Tancho (Japanese) (B474)
  • Grue blanche du Japon (French) (W2.Dec06.w3)
  • Grue de Mandchourie (French) (W2.Dec06.w3)
  • Gruella de Manchuria (Spanish) (W2.Dec06.w3)
  • Gruella manchu (Spanish) (W2.Dec06.w3)

Names for newly-hatched


Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases


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Species Author

Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)

Major References

B97, B107.w8, B475, B480.5.w5, B481.II.11.w19, W2.Dec06.w3, W2.Nov2013.w10

Aviculture references:
B97, B115.2.w7, B479.w16D437, J23.17.w5, P1.1986.w4, P96.1.w1


(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

  • --

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Aviculture Information


General Information:
  • Cranes are tall birds with a long beak and sharp claws, and can be aggressive. Their ability to injure humans must be considered in enclosure design and handling. (B115.2.w7, B197.9.w9)
  • Most cranes are wetland species, a few being primarily grassland species. They should be given the opportunity to wade and bathe, and to forage and/or dig for food in natural vegetation and soft soil substrates.
  • Good nutrition, with adequate protein and micronutrient levels, is essential for the general health of the cranes and for breeding.
  • Cranes form monogamous pairs and can be extremely territorial, particularly in the breeding season. Therefore it is important to house each pair of adult cranes in a separate enclosure from other cranes, and preferably not directly adjacent to another pair of cranes, particularly of the same species. Visual barriers should be put in place between crane enclosures before the breeding season
  • Care is required when introducing intended mates to each other, to avoid injury to one or both birds; formation of a good pair bond can take time.
  • Cranes are unlikely to breed if they feel insecure, such as in mixed species enclosures with hoofstock, or if there is no part of their enclosure which is free from daily human disturbance.
  • If possible, rotational pens should be provided, such that a pen can be left empty in alternate years, to reduce soil burdens of parasites and pathogenic microorganisms which may otherwise build up to problematic levels; this is particularly important if chicks are to be parent-reared, to avoid overwhelming exposure to e.g. gapeworm very early.

(B115.2.w7, D437, J23.17.w5, P1.1986.w4, P96.1.w1)

Species-specific information:

  • Hardy. (B97);
  • Quite hardy. (B479.w16)
  • Very aquatic; if natural water is available they may be seen wading in the shallows or submerging their head and neck searching for food (including e.g. eels, moorhen chicks). (B479.w16)
  • Breed well in captivity. (B97)
Management Techniques


Bird Husbandry and Management

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

  • About 150 cm. (B107.w8); 150 cm. (B475) Wingspan 220-250 cm. (B107.w8)
  • Males are generally larger than females. (B107.w8)
Adult weight General 7,000-10,000g; peak up to 12 kg in autumn, at the time when fat deposits are largest. (B107.w8)
Male --
Female --
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate Cranes general: Crane chicks grow rapidly. Growth of the legs is particularly rapid in the first six weeks, with the wings then developing rapidly after this. (B107.w8)

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Adult Bill Male Olive green to greenish horn. (B481.II.11.w19) Dull green. (B97)
Variations (If present) Female: --
Eyes (Iris) Male Dark brown or dark green. (B107.w8) Dark brown. (B97)
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Bill
  • Similar to adult, but paler. (B481.II.11.w19)
Eyes (Iris) --

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Adult Male Slaty grey to greyish black. (B481.II.11.w19) Blackish. (B97)
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Similar to adult, but paler. (B481.II.11.w19)

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Adult Male
White, with neck black with white nape, secondaries black but primaries white. (B107.w8)
Variations (If present)
  • White with neck dull brown or grey, secondaries dull brown or grey, primaries black-tipped. (B107.w8)
  • There may be scattered dark feathers on the upper and lower surfaces of the wings. (B481.II.11.w19)

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Identification Notes

Cranes general: 
  • "Cranes are large to very large birds with long necks and legs, streamlined bodies and long, rounded wings." (B107.w8)
  • Compared to the day-herons, cranes have longer legs and hold their necks straighter. (B107.w8)
  • Compared to egrets, the body is proportionately larger. (B107.w8)
  • Compared to storks, the legs are longer, bodies lighter and bills smaller. (B107.w8)
  • In flight, cranes have their necks straight forwards and their long legs trailing behind, forming a straight line from the bill; in very cold weather the legs may be pulled in against the body. (B107.w8)

Red-crowned crane specific:

  • Very large, mainly white cranes, with a black face and neck, with a red crown and a white patch from behind the eye extending to the nape. White primaries, black secondaries and tertials. (B475)
  • Distinguished from the other white cranes, Grus leucogeranus - Siberian crane and Grus americana - Whooping crane by its black neck and black secondaries. (B107.w8); also by its white primaries. (B475)
  • Distinguished from Grus nigricollis - Black-necked crane, which also has a black neck, by its larger size, and white rather than grey general colour. (B107.w8); by its generally white rather than grey body colour. (B475)


  • Penetrating, high-pitched calls. (B107.w8, B475)

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

  • Precocial. (B107.w8)
    • Remain in the nest for 2-3 days after hatching, then led away. They are able to swim as early as 2-3 days of age. (B480.5.w5)
    • If undisturbed and if food near the nest is plentiful, the pair may stay with their young near the nest for 1-2 weeks (e.g. found 20 m away by one day, 100 m by two days), but may move much further if disturbed. It has also been observed for chicks to stay in the nest for the first few days. (B481.II.11.w19)
  • Brown; at base of wing, a white spot. (B107.w8)
    • Tawny brown to cinnamon brown, darker on the shoulders and the rump, and more tawny on the neck and head, with light grey and tawny cheeks. At the base of the wing, a white spot. Bill flesh-coloured with base more yellow. Legs initially blueish, but within a couple of days flesh-coloured, while the toes and the hock joint are bluish, with a yellowish flesh-colour tinge. Iris dark brown. (B481.II.11.w19)
  • Cranes general: The initial down is replaced by a second coat of down; this is replaced by feathers. (B107.w8)

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Detailed Anatomy

  • The trachea is coiled and fills the sternum. (B107.w8)
  • Cranes have ten functional primary flight feathers (with a vestigial 11th in most species), and 18-25 secondary flight feathers. (B107.w8)

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Reproductive Season

Time of year Spring; eggs laid mainly April, also in May. (B107.w8)
No. of Clutches Repeated clutches have been reported. (B107.w8)

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Nest placement and structure

  • Always nests in areas with dead standing reeds 30-200 cm tall, in relatively deep water (up to 50 cm deep). The nest is built from reeds and grass. (B107.w8)
  • Breeding territories range from 1-7 kmē in Japan, in China 2-3.2 kmē, in Russia 4-12 kmē. (B107.w8)
  • In eastern Siberia, nest in large, not always marshy, clearings, sometimes on river borders. (B480.5.w5)
  • A nest in marshy lowland was described as 98 cm across, made from small pieces of nearby plants and surrounded by a clearing from which the plants had been pulled up. Other nests were described as 90cm at the base and 60 cm at the top, made from twigs, reeds and then grasses, while others were about 111 - 122 cm across and the same diameter at the base and the top. A very large nest made almost entirely of Phragmites sp. was 198 x 212 cm across, reaching 85 above the water, the water being 20 cm deep, and in a clearing 15-20 m across produced by the cranes among the standing Phragmites. Other nests were noted to be in water from a few cm to a metre or more in depth, and to be at water level, all with a slight depression in the centre, in which the eggs were placed. (B480.5.w5)
  • Nests are surrounded by a clearing made by the cranes pulling up the plants to incorporate into the nest, but with vegetation beyond that hiding the nest. (B481.II.11.w19)

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average Usually two. (B107.w8)
  • Usually two, occasionally only one. (B480.5.w5)
  • Usually two, occasionally one and rarely three. (B481.II.11.w19)
Egg Description
  • Greyish-white, with slight spotting, 105 x 65 mm, 265 g. (P91.1.w6)
  • Oval, somewhat elliptical, sometimes white with no spotting, others are pale grey to light brown, with darker brown spots. Shell usually smooth but not glossy. Average (based on 17 eggs) 101.17 x 64.88 mm; range 94.8 - 108.0 x 61.2 - 68.6 mm. Ten eggs weighed 210 - 250 g, average 231.7 g. (B480.5.w5)

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  • 29-34 days. (B107.w8)
  • Incubation begins after the first egg has been laid. (B107.w8)
  • Eggs are laid in the early morning and incubation starts immediately; the eggs are generally laid two days apart. (B480.5.w5)
  • Eggs laid in the morning (0600 - 1000), 2-4 days apart. (B481.II.11.w19)
  • Generally 29-31 days incubation, although as long as 34 and 36 days reported in the wild. (B481.II.11.w19)

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  • Asynchronous. (B107.w8)
  • Hatching takes about 30 hours from pipping; there may be two days between hatching of the two chicks, but sometimes they are only a day apart.  (B481.II.11.w19)

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  • About 95 days. (B107.w8)
  • About three months. (B481.II.11.w19)

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Sexual Maturity

Males 3-4 years. (B107.w8)
Females 3-4 years. (B107.w8)

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Feeding Behaviour

  • "Walk-and-peck" used more than probing or digging. (B107.w8)
  • On Hokkaido, Japan, in winter, feeds at crane feeding stations. (B107.w8)
  • Walk while searching for food with the head down, probing with the bill, including under water Quick thrusts to catch e.g. fish or flying insects For small food items, initially held in the bill tip then the head is tossed upwards a little to swallow the item. (B481.II.11.w19)
Newly-hatched Chicks are able to pick up food from a few days old, although they mostly take food which is offered to them by their parents initially. (B480.5.w5)

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Parental Behaviour

  • Both male and female build the nest. (B480.5.w5)
  • The female chooses the nest site; mainly the male provides the materials and the female carries out the actual nest construction; this takes at least 2-3 days. (B481.II.11.w19)
  • Cranes general: Both male and female build the nest. (B107.w8)
  • Cranes general: A secluded spot in the pair's territory is chosen, and the cranes unison-call there, then walk away from the selected place and toss nesting materials over their shoulders towards it. Returning to the nest site, they pull into the nest material which is within reach, then slowly walk away and toss more material towards the nest, repeating this sequence until sufficient nesting material has been gathered. (B107.w8)
  • Both birds incubate, changing places two to four times a day; at night the non-incubating individual may roost near the nest or at some distance from it. (B480.5.w5)
  • Cranes general: 
    • Both male and female incubate, changing over several times during the day, but with the female usually incubating during the night. (B107.w8)
    • About every 30-80 minutes, the bird which is incubating will rise and roll the eggs or adjust the nest. (B107.w8)
  • Both parents lead the chicks away form the nest to drier areas or marsh borders to feed. They look after the chicks and pick up and offer them food. (B480.5.w5)
  • Sometimes one parent takes each chick, and they stay a few metres apart. (B480.5.w5)
  • Chicks are fed starting soon after hatching. (B481.II.11.w19)
  • Chicks may be fed only occasionally on the day of or after hatching but more by the third day. Both parents feed theyoung. (B481.II.11.w19)(B481.II.11.w19)
  • Cranes general: Adult cranes feed their chicks from soon after hatching. Both male and female bring small items to the chicks, presenting them by holding the food item at the tip of the bill or dropping the food in front of the chicks. (B107.w8)
  • Adults have been seen offering food to juveniles as old as 10 months of age - less than a month before deserting the chick. (B480.5.w5)

  • The adults leave their chicks only when they return to their breeding territories the following spring. (B480

  • Cranes general: Adult cranes continue to care for their chicks throughout the pre-fledging period and may bring food to the chick for several months (although chicks also follow their parents to food sources from an early age). Juveniles remain with their parents through the non-breeding periods but leave at the start of the next breeding season or are driven away after the return to the breeding territory. (B107.w8)

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Social Behaviour

  • Congregate in families and groups on the wintering grounds in Japan. (B480.5.w5)
  • Breeding pairs call and respond to other pairs in the morning and sometimes in the evening, even at distances of kilometres from one another in Siberia. (B480.5.w5)
  • Juveniles stay in a group after the adults have left for the breeding territories. (B480.5.w5)
  • Chase other cranes from the breeding territory. (B481.II.11.w19)
  • Cranes general: 
    • Cranes are gregarious outside the breeding season, but separate for the breeding season. (B107.w8)
    • Juveniles which are not yet paired gather in non-breeding flocks and may be nomadic through the breeding period. (B107.w8)
    • By the end of their second year the young birds may have started to initiate pair bonds. (B107.w8)
    • Soon after the chicks fledge, families of migratory cranes gather in flocks at pre-migratory staging areas with dependable food and safe roosting sites. As the weather deteriorates, they move further south to join larger congregations of cranes, before setting out on the main migration. (B107.w8)

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Sexual Behaviour

  • Often seen dancing on the wintering grounds. (B480.5.w5)
  • Copulation is sometimes seen on the wintering grounds in spring, just before the cranes return to their breeding territories. (B480.5.w5)
  • In the unison call, the female stands with her bill pointing upwards and her wings held against her sides, while the male has his head extended up and back, bill pointing forwards, while his wings are held with the secondaries well above his back, primaries concealed underneath. (B480.5.w5)
  • The cranes usually stand 1-3 metres apart, and the call is often initiated by the female. (B481.II.11.w19)
  • Either partner may initiate copulation with a bill-raised display; the female then turns her back on the male and may spread her wings; the male approaches, vocalises in a series of calls increasing in pitch, then steps up onto the female; after copulation the male's calls stop and he slides forwards over the female's head, then the pair perform bowing, sometimes going into an arching posture with their bills raised upwards vertically and the head of each crane turned to right-angles with the body. (B481.II.11.w19)
  • Cranes general: Monogamous. Crane pairs stay together all year, and usually remain together until one partner dies. (B107.w8)
  • Cranes general: (B107.w8)
    • Cranes copulate repeatedly, starting several weeks before egg laying.
    • Mating usually occurs before sunrise, but can also occur at other times during daylight hours. 
    • In newly-established pairs, copulation is preceded by long bouts of dancing. Well-established pairs mate without any tension. 
    • The copulatory sequence is initiated by the male or the female. The initiating bird elevates its bill, arches slightly forwards and gives a low, purring call. The mate then shows similar behaviour. 
    • The male bird (usually) circles its mate with exaggerated steps.
    • The female spreads her wings. The male approaches, jumps onto her back with his wings flapping, and crouches.
    • The female elevates her tail, the male lowers his tail, and the cloacae of the two birds meet.
    • The male jumps forward off the female over her head and for a few seconds performs threat displays.
    • Both birds perform a long preening sequence.


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Predation in Wild

Eggs and chicks are taken by Corvus corone - Carrion crow and Corvus macrorhynchus - Jungle crow (Corvus (Genus)).

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Activity Patterns

  • Migrate flying in formation, at a high altitude. (B480.5.w5)
  • Japanese cranes dance particularly in late winter/early spring, with pairs, juveniles and young non-breeding cranes all dancing. Paired cranes usually dance together. The whole flock may end up dancing after the morning feed(B480.5.w5)
  • Leave the roost site at dawn, flying out to foraging areas, returning to the relatively safe roost sites at dusk. Occasionally in very cold weather stay at the roost until early afternoon before leaving to forage for a few hours. (B481.II.11.w19)

Cranes general:

  • Roosting:
    • Cranes (except the Balearica spp.) generally roost in shallow water, occasionally on mudflats, sandbars or dry ground.
    • In flocks, cranes stand about a "peck distance" apart while roosting.
    • Most of the time they stand on one leg, switching legs several times during the night.
    • The head and neck are tucked onto or under one shoulder.
    • Cranes defecate at regular intervals while roosting.
    • On the roosting site they are still and silent unless disturbed.
    • If there is an unfamiliar sound, or one member of the flock gives an alarm call, all the birds become alert and are ready to fly.


  • At dawn, they wake, stretch, preen and drink.
  • In small groups, they fly to a post-roosting staging area, and preen more; cranes may gather at such a site from several roost sites.
  • Small and then larger groups move from the staging area to a feeding area for the day.
  • Generally, cranes feed for a long time in the early morning, then move to loafing areas.
    • At loafing areas, cranes preen and drink, and also engage in social displays, establishing a pecking order for families, and facilitating pairing of unattached birds.
  • In the middle of very hot days, they may fly, spirally high up on thermals.
  • Later they return to feeding and watering areas and forage.
  • They then move to pre-roosting staging areas before flying to a roost site.
    • On the pre-roost staging areas they may engage in social displays.


  • Cranes general: Diurnal. Outside the breeding season, cranes roost at night and feed during the day. (B107.w8)

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Natural Diet

Adult Diet

  • Generalist; insects, aquatic invertebrates, fish, amphibians, rodents and plant foods such as reeds and grasses; in winter in Japan and Korea, waste grains such as rice. On Hokkaido, food provided in feeding stations. (B107.w8)
  • In spring and summer, mudfishes/loaches, insects, frogs, salamanders; in autumn/winter, grains such as buckweat and corn found loose in recently-harvested fields, or deliberately provided. (B480.5.w5)
  • A variety of plant and animal foods, including parsley, carrots, water plantds, reed buds, acorns, buckwheat etc., fish, mud snails, dragonflies, frogs, mallard ducklings and juvenile Acrocephalus reed-warblers. (B481.II.11.w19)

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Newly-hatched Diet

  • Includes many insects, small mudfishes/loaches, salamanders. (B480.5.w5)
  • Amphipods, small fish, other aquatic animals, dragonflies, and later larger fish and frogs. (B481.II.11.w19)

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Detailed Physiology Notes

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)


Red-crowned crane distribution map. Click here for full-page view with caption.

  • China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, Russian Federation. (W2.Dec06.w3, W2.Nov2013.w10)


  • Eastern Hokkaido, northern Japan. (B107.w8)

  • Northeast China and adjacent extreme southeastern Russia. (B107.w8)

  • South-eastern Russia, north-east China, Mongolia (the first breeding record occurred in 2003), and eastern Hokkaido, Japan. (W2.Dec06.w3, W2.Nov2013.w10)


  • Japanese population is non-migratory (B475, W2.Dec06.w3). 

    • Hokkaido population resident, with families remaining in breeding areas or moving up to 150 km to wintering areas in the Kushiro District of Hokkaido. (B107.w8)

  • Mainland Asia populations migrate across northeastern China, splitting into three or four wintering sub-populations: 

    • Eastern birds move across North Korea to wintering areas in and near the Korean Demilitarised one (DMZ); (B107.w8)

    • Cranes from the western part of the breeding range migrate along the north China Sea to coastal wintering areas in and around Jiangsu (central eastern China). (B107.w8)

    • Birds breeding in Russia and China winter in the Yellow river delta, the coast of Jiangsi province in China and in the Demilitarised zone (North Korea/South Korea border). They use staging posts along the Yellow River between Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces, China. (B475, W2.Dec06.w3)

  • Cranes general: 
    • Migratory cranes spend days to weeks at pre-migratory staging areas, integrating into the flock as well as building up fat reserves. (B107.w8)
    • To migrate, they feed for several hours early in the morning, then on a clear day with breezes, fly up, climbing in large circles by flap-flying and lifting on thermals, to as high as 2,00m, then assume a V-formation, wings extended, and glide south; after a certain amount of altitude has been lost, they spiral again to regain height, before gliding. Over water, without thermals, they flap-fly in V-formation. (B107.w8)
    • Young cranes stay close to their parents during migration and learn the route. (B107.w8)
    • Cranes call constantly during migration. (B107.w8)
Occasional and Accidental
  • Vagrant to Taiwan. (W2.Dec06.w3, W2.Nov2013.w10)



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Lowland wetlands. (B475)

Relatively aquatic (more so than other sympatric cranes). (B107.w8)

  • In summer, extensive bogs, wet meadows and deeper parts of reed, sedge and cat-tail marshes. (B107.w8)
  • Breeds in grass, reed and sedge marshes in China and Russia. (B475, W2.Dec06.w3, W2.Nov2013.w10)
  • Winter and during passage, wetlands such as tidal flats, saltmarshes, rivers, wet grasslands, saltpans and aquaculture pools. (B475, W2.Dec06.w3, W2.Nov2013.w10)
  • Hokkaido: open low meadows, sparsely wooded boggy areas. (B107.w8)
  • Sometimes forage in crop fields, generally along dykes. (B107.w8)
  • Winter: at rivers, freshwater wetlands, coastal salt-marshes and mudflats, and paddy fields. (B107.w8)

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Intraspecific variation

Monotypic. (B107.w8)

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
  • Current population estimate 1,700-2,000 individuals. [1996](B107.w8)

  • Lowest population was reached after the Second World War. (B107.w8)

  • Hokkaido population risen from 33 individuals in 1952 to more than 600 in the 1990s. (B107.w8)

  • Population estimated at 2,000 and declining. (B475)

    • About 1,200 birds wintering in Chinao (probably declining), about 400 in the Demilitarized Zone (North/South Korea border) (probably declining) and about 600 in Japan (increasing slowly). (B475)

  • The total population is estimated at about 2,400 birds, with about 1,200 (probably declining) wintering  in China and probably declining, about 400 (probably declining) wintering in North/South Korea, and about 800 (slowly increasing) in Japan. (W2.Dec06.w3)

  • Global population estimated as about 2,750 individuals including about 1,650 mature individuals. Although the population in Japan is stable, that on the Asian mainland continues to decline due to wetland loss and degradation. (W2.Nov2013.w10)


  • Particularly wetland loss and degradation due to agricultural (particularly) but also industrial and economic development. (B107.w8, B475, W2.Dec06.w3, W2.Nov2013.w10)

    • Drying of wetlands in China due to surrounding development. (W2.Dec06.w3, W2.Nov2013.w10)

    • Habitat loss leads to concentration of the population in remaining sites. (W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • Proposed dams on the River Amur in Russia may affect breeding populations. (B107.w8)

  • In Korea, potential conflict, or alternately development of the DMZ. (B107.w8)

  • In China, coastal marshes of wintering grounds may be lost due to a dam on the River Yangtze. (B107.w8)

  • Also overharvesting of wetland resources, human disturbance, setting of fires in breeding areas, poisoning. (B107.w8)

  • Destruction of suitable nesting grounds in both Russia and China by spring fires. (B475, W2.Dec06.w3, W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • Dams result in lowered water levels; this may destroy suitable breeding sites and enable predators to access nests. (W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • Potential threat from pollution: important sites on the Songnen Plain, Shuangtai Hekou and Yellow River delta are on/near major oil fields. (B475, W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • Risk of disease in the Japanese population which is concentrated at feeding stations. (B475, W2.Dec06.w3, W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • Present reduced rainfall has reduced the extent of wetlands (30 year apparent cycle). (W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • At Zahlong Nature Reserve, China, poorly timed wetland restoration resulted in floods and subsequent nest failure. (W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • In some mainland wintering areas, high mortality apparently due to poisining. (W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • May be threatened by poaching. (W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • In the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), reduced waist grain availability due to winter rather than spring ploughing, and increased pressure for development. (W2.Nov2013.w10)


  • Intense efforts since the 1950s. (B107.w8)

  • Hunting prohibited in all range countries. (B107.w8)

  • International agreements. (B107.w8)

  • Annual counts of wintering populations. (B107.w8)

  • Key breeding, migration and winter habitats are protected in reserves. (B107.w8)

    • Key area which are protected include in Russia, Khingansky, Muraviovka, Lake Khanka; in China, Zhalong, Xianhai, Hui River, Shunagtai Hekou, Yellow River delta, Yancheng; in North Korea, Kumya, Mundok; in Japan, Kushiru, Akkeshi-Bekanbeushi, Kiritappu. 

    (B475, W2.Dec06.w3, W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • Hokkaido power lines marked, resulting in a 70% decrease in deaths from collisions. (B107.w8)

  • International studies using telemetry have provided information on migration routes and timing. (B107.w8)

  • International meetings and symposia for information exchange. (B107.w8)

  • Population and habitat viability analysis in 1992. (B107.w8)

  • Extensive education projects (Russia, China, Japan). (B107.w8)

  • Release of captive-bred birds at three natural breeding sites. (B107.w8)

  • These cranes have been fed at the wintering grounds on Hokkaido since 1958. (P97.1.w16)

  • Since 2006, surveys of wintering populations in China. (W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • In 2008, Red Crowned Crane International Workshop; this concluded that in order to stop crane habitat being threatened by development, international cooperation was needed. (W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • In some areas, artificial feeding. (W2.Nov2013.w10)

Further conservation targets

  • Expand the area/number of wintering sites in Japan; (B475, W2.Dec06.w3, W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • Establish transboundary protected area at Tumen estuary (Russia/China/North Korea); (B475, W2.Dec06.w3, W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • Secure the conservation status of the Cholwon and Han estuary (in the Demilitarised Zone); (B475, W2.Dec06.w3, W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • In China, strengthen protected area management on the Sanjiang Plain, stop tidal-flat reclamation along the Yancheng coast, abd control Spartinna alterniflora - Cordgrass (invasive species). (B475, W2.Dec06.w3)

  • Improve the manageemnt of the Zahlong wetland restoration. (W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • Prevent pesticide poisoning and poaching; (B475, W2.Dec06.w3, W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • Control breeding ground fires; (B475, W2.Dec06.w3, W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • In China, establish interest groupsand a communications organisation for crane conservation. (B475, W2.Dec06.w3, W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • Identify the breeding times during which there is a need for the most stringent protection. (W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • Improve monitoring, including satellite tracking, aerial counts, complete census and determination of the Area of Occupancy. (W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • Start a study into heavy metal contamination. (W2.Nov2013.w10)

  • Extend captive breeding programmes to enable future reintroduction and population supplementation. (W2.Nov2013.w10)

General Legislation Legal protection in all range states. (B475, W2.Dec06.w3)
CITES listing
  • CITES I. (B107.w8)
  • CITES Appendix I and II. (B475, W2.Dec06.w3, W2.Nov2013.w10)
  • CMS Appendix I and II. (B475, W2.Dec06.w3, W2.Nov2013.w10)
Red-data book listing
  • Endangered C1 ver 3.1 (assessed 2012).(W2.Nov2013.w10)
  • Endangered. EN C1 ver 3.1 (2001) Assessed 2004 "This crane qualifies as Endangered because it has a very small, declining population as a result of loss and degradation of wetlands through conversion to agriculture and industrial development." (W2.Dec06.w3)
  • Vulnerable. (B107.w8)

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Captive Populations

Breed readily in captivity. (B107.w8)

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