Name: the red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis) – also called the Manchurian crane, Japanese crane, or tancho – is among the rarest cranes in the world.
Appearance: red-crowned cranes are tall, elegant birds. They are named after the patches of red skin on the tops of their heads. Their feathers are mostly snow-white with black on their necks and tails.
Size: they are among the largest species of cranes, reaching around 1.5 metres tall with a wingspan up to 2.5 metres.
Diet: red-crowned cranes are omnivorous – eating rice, carrots, acorns, fish, insects, and small birds and mammals. They typically forage by jabbing their beaks into the mud until they find something edible. Most of this foraging occurs in wet grasslands, cultivated fields, shallow rivers, or on the shores of lakes.
Did you know: red-crowned cranes mate for life. To strengthen the bond with their partners, they dance together in an elaborate ritual. Pairs of cranes move together in unison, throw their heads back, and call to each other. Throughout their range they are seen as a symbol of luck, longevity, and fidelity. In Japan, they are known as ‘tancho‘. It is said they live for 1,000 years and can grant favours in return for acts of sacrifice. In China, they are often featured in myths and legends, with immortal beings often found riding on cranes. In Korea, they are considered a symbol of longevity, purity, and peace.
Location: in spring and summer, migratory populations of red-crowned cranes breed in Siberia, China, and Mongolia before migrating to Korea and China for the winter. There is also a resident population in eastern Hokkaido in Japan.
Where TO SEE red-crowned cranes
According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see red-crowned cranes in the following places:
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