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A quite noisy bird which can be heard almost 2 km away

The smallest of all crane species

Its plumage is a pearl grey in colour, with black markings on its head, throat, breast and long foreneck. Its olive-green bill, its red eyes and the tuft of long white feathers stretching down behind its eyes make the crowned crane a graceful bird. Like all cranes, it has long legs that enable it to wade in search of food and also to look out for intruders when nesting.


Crowned crane are mainly found in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. They migrate in large groups and can be seen in a V formation as they head for southern Asia (India) and eastern and central Africa.

It likes wide open spaces where its small and simple nest is built right on the ground, often near wetlands. It is diurnal and quite sociable, except during the reproduction period. However, it is a shy animal and the encroachment of farming in its nesting zones is increasingly problematic. Cranes are quite noisy birds: the demoiselle caws, screeches and emits trumpeting calls and can be heard almost 2 km away.

  • Habitat

    Exposed agricultural zones, marshes and pastures close to Europe's wetlands.

  • Food

    Seeds and shoots, grass and small insects and invertebrates.

Did you know ?

Cranes, like storks, fly with their neck and legs stretched out, whereas herons tuck in their neck in flight.

At PAL...

Crowned crane

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