Common Crane

Grus grus

The Common Crane , also known as the Eurasian Crane, is a bird of the family Gruidae, the cranes.

It is a large, stately bird and a medium-sized crane at 100–130 cm long, with a 180–240 cm wingspan and a weight of 4.5–6 kg . It is grey with a white facial streak and a bunch of black wing plumes. Adults have a red crown patch. It has a loud trumpeting call, given in flight and display. It has a dancing display, leaping with wings uplifted.

It breeds in wetlands in northern parts of Europe and Asia. The global population is in the region of 210,000-250,000, with the vast majority nesting in Russia and Scandinavia. In Great Britain the Common Crane became extirpated in the 17th century, but a tiny population now breeds again in the Norfolk Broads and is slowly increasing and a reintroduction is planned for the Somerset levels. In Ireland, it died out as a breeding species in the 18th century, but a flock of about 20 appeared in County Cork in November 2011.

It is a long distance migrant wintering in Africa , southern Europe, and southern Asia . Migrating flocks fly in a V formation.

It is a rare visitor to western North America, where birds are occasionally seen with flocks of migrating Sandhill Cranes.

It is omnivorous, eating leaves, roots, berries , insects, small birds and mammals.

The Common Crane is one of the species to which the ''Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds'' applies.