The Crane is a large, long-legged and long-necked bird occurring in 15 species in all continents of the world except South-America and Antarctica. It’s a huge, graceful and mainly grey bird with a drooping, curved tail feathers. Males and females are identical in appearance but males are slightly larger. Cranes are also known with their spectacular mating dances that made them highly symbolic birds in many cultures with records dating back to ancient times.
Unfortunately, most species of cranes are at least classified as threatened, if not critically endangered, within their range due to general loss of breeding habitats (wetlands) but great efforts are being done to increase numbers of these magnificent birds.
Cranes are opportunistic feeders that change their diet according to the season and their own nutrient requirements. They eat a range of items from suitably sized small rodents, fish, amphibians, and insects to grain, berries, and plants. Some species and populations of Cranes migrate over long distances; others do not migrate at all. They are solitary during the breeding season, occurring in pairs, but during the non-breeding season they are gregarious, forming large flocks where their numbers are sufficient.
Cranes are perennially monogamous breeders, establishing long-term pair bonds that may last the lifetime of the birds. They construct platform nests in shallow water, and typically lay two eggs at a time. Both parents help to rear the young, which remain with them until the next breeding season.
In the recent years, a non-profit organization was dedicated to the study and conservation of the 15 species of cranes known as The International Crane Foundation (ICF) and this definitely will ensure that cranes will receive the appropriate help to be protected from different types of threats.