Red-crowned Crane, Grus japonensis
May 2011

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TAXONOMY

Describer (Date): Müller 1776
Order: Gruiformes
Family: Gruidae
Subfamily: Balearicinae (crowned cranes)
Subfamily: Gruinae (typical cranes)
Genus: Grus
Species: Grus japonensis
Subspecies: No subspecies

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Body Weight: The heaviest crane: up to 11 kg
(24 lb)
Wing Span: 220 - 250 cm (7-8 ft)
Height: 158 cm (5 ft)
Plumage: Only crane with white primaries;
secondary and tertiary feathers black; forehead
and crown bare, with red skin; lower neck black
Beak: Greenish-yellow

 

DISTRIBUTION AND STATUS

Range: Resident on Hokkaido, Japan;
breeds also in northeast China, southeast Russia;
winters in Korea and central China
Habitat: Deep water marshes
IUCN Status: Vulnerable
CITES Appendix: Appendix I and II
Population in Wild:
ISIS captive population

BEHAVIOR AND ECOLOGY

Migration: Most populations migrate; sedentary
on Hokkaido
Activity Cycle: Half to three-quarters of time spent
feeding
Social Groups: Gregarious; live in flocks
Diet: Generalist feeder: aquatic invertebrates,
insects, amphibians, fish, even rodents; also
plants and grains
Predators: Humans are the only predators for
adults; on Hakkaido, escaped mink prey on young;
in general, carnivores, crows and ravens prey on
hatchlings and eggs; birds of prey may kill young
cranes

REPRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT

Sexual Maturity: 3-4 years
Courtship: Pair-bonding established and
maintained with elaborate dance and calls
Clutch Size: 2 eggs
Nest: Built on wet ground; preferably among standing
dried reeds
Hatchlings: Hatch after 29-34 days incubation
Fledglings: Fledge at 95 days but remain with
parents about 9 months until after first migration
Longevity: Very long-lived; up to 50-70 years
in captivity; 20-40 years in wild

SPECIES HIGHLIGHTS

Feature Facts: In China, Japan, and Korea
red-crowned cranes are associated with
longevity, happiness and good luck.
Society Press: The San Diego Zoo has hatched
many red-crowned cranes after receiving adult
cranes in early 1980s as gifts from the People's
Republic of China and from the mayor of Osaka,
Japan. The founder of the International Crane
Foundation, Dr. George Archibald, was the 2005
Zoological Society of San Diego Conservation
Medalist.


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