The Indian Cranes

The Indian Cranes

India is home to five of the fifteen remaining species of crane.

About Cranes:

The Indian Cranes
Cranes are large, soaring birds in the Gruidae family, with long necks and legs. Only Antarctica and, oddly, South America lack the marshes and grasslands that are found throughout the rest of the earth, where crane can be found. Cranes resemble herons in appearance but are typically larger and have a partially bare head. Cranes maintain their necks stretched out in front while flying, unlike herons, who keep their legs trailing behind. Numerous crane species migrate, with breeding and wintering habitats frequently thousands of kilometers apart. There are two resident species and three wintering populations of the 15 species of crane in India.

Population Status:

Unfortunately, 11 of the 15 extant crane species are in danger of going extinct, with habitat loss and degradation identified as their main concerns. 
The ‘’Siberian Crane’’ is the most endangered species of crane on the globe because it depends so heavily on wetlands. They have disappeared from former strongholds like India due to the altering hydrology along their confined migration corridor from their breeding areas in Russia to China. At the same time, there is hope in the inspiring story of the Demoiselle Cranes, who found refuge in the Rajasthani town of Khichan. 


1. Sarus Crane (Grus antigone): Vulnerable [IUCN]

The grey plumage and red head and neck areas of Sarus Cranes, the highest flying birds in the world, make them easy to recognize. Sarus Cranes typically weigh 6.8 to 7.8 kg. The bird is frequently spotted in groups of two or three. The species has three distinct population groups that are dispersed throughout Australia, Southeast Asia, and India. While breeding occurs all year round, its peak is seen between July and October. Because of their steadfast devotion, Sarus Cranes form the basis of Rajput culture and mythology. They mate for life. They are particularly well known for their magnificent courtship displays, in which the birds dance around one other while flapping their big wings and bowing, stretching, and bobbing their long, graceful necks. 
Paddy fields in the northern and central regions of the country used to frequently be home to Sarus Cranes. However, some of the major dangers that have significantly decreased their populations in the nation are the deterioration of wetlands, habitat change as a result of development operations, and pesticide poisoning. The list of dangers is greatly increased by the mechanization of agriculture and the predation of eggs and chicks by other species. The cranes are in desperate need of focused conservation efforts even though they are well acclimated to living close to areas where people live. 
Prelims Couse Ads

2. Common Crane (Grus grus): Least Concern [IUCN]

Common Cranes are medium-sized, 3-6kg weigh cranes. They are primarily grey in color, with a noticeable red crown and a white stripe along the neck. Common Cranes are migratory birds with a vast geographic range. Early in September, they travel to their wintering locations in southern Europe, regions of Africa, northern India, and Pakistan. They also go back to their nesting sites in northern Europe and the Palearctic in the month of March. Swamps, rice fields, and floodplains are habitats for non-breeding and wintering species. They frequently appear in big flocks. Despite being listed as Least Concern from a conservation standpoint, habitat destruction and change have had an influence on numbers in some areas of its range. Concerns include the development of dams and other environmental alterations. 

3. Siberian Crane (Leucogeranus leucogeranus): Critically Endangered [IUCN]

The most migratory species, mostly white in color with pinkish-white legs and red markings on its face and forehead.  During flight, their black wingtips are noticeable. There are two regional populations of the Siberian crane. The eastern population winters in Poyang Lake in the middle Yangtze River Basin after migrating 5,000 kilometers from the Yakutian steppe of Russia through highly developed eastern China. The eastern population breeds in northeastern Siberia. The western and central population breeds in southern regions of the Ob River in Russia and spends the winters in the Caspian Sea in Iran. 
Recent sources claim that the western/central population is now represented by a single person by the name of Omid or Hope. Birds from this population have previously spent the winter in Bharatpur, Rajasthan. In the area, they were last seen in 2001! For their feeding, breeding, and roosting needs along their migration routes, marshes, bogs, and other wetlands are essential. Significant risks to this critically endangered species include hunting along these constrained corridors, the building of dams, and water diversion for agriculture. 

The Indian Cranes

4. Demoiselle Crane (Anthropoides virgo): Least Concern [IUCN]

Demoiselle Cranes are the smallest species of crane, weighing about 2 to 3 kg and standing out for their long, black necks and grey plumage. Their black wingtips are noticeable when in flight, just like Siberian Cranes. Demoiselle cranes are found all over the world. Their breeding range includes Mongolia and Central Asia, and their wintering range includes western India. As vast flocks of tens of thousands of birds cross the Himalayas to get to their wintering sites, their migration is challenging. In some areas of western India, locals welcome the long-distance fliers with grains while they wait for them to arrive. This custom is well-known in the Rajasthani village of Khichan. Demoiselle Cranes favor grasslands near sources of water as their preferred breeding and wintering sites. They can also be found in deserts and areas with little vegetation that are close to water. Despite being listed as Least Concern, the species faces serious threats from habitat loss and alteration due to agriculture. 

5. Black-neckedCrane (Grus nigricollis): Near Threatened [IUCN]

The medium-sized Black-necked Crane can be differentiated from the Common Crane, which has a similar appearance, by the dropping of black feathers above the tail area. The feathers of Common Cranes are grey in color. Black-necked Cranes are mostly found in India, China, and Bhutan, and weigh between 5 and 6 kg. The bird winters in low-altitude regions and breeds in high-altitude wetlands on the Tibetan plateau. A tiny population of the species also breeds in the Zemithang and Sangti valleys of Arunachal Pradesh, while Ladakh is the species' primary breeding site in India. 
Significant concerns to the survival of this crane species include habitat loss and alteration. It is crucial to maintain the high-altitude wetlands in their range because it is estimated that there are less than 20 breeding pairs in the nation. Black-necked Cranes eat in the fields surrounding these wetlands, and the region's expanding grazing pressure is changing how they eat. The destruction of eggs and chicks by stray dogs is a serious threat as well.

Any suggestions or correction in this article - please click here

Share this Post:

Related Posts: