Thursday, October 27

Siberian crane

   ›      ›   Siberian crane - Leucogeranus leucogeranus

The Siberian crane (Leucogeranus leucogeranus) is a large bird belonging to the crane family, Gruidae. The breeding populations of Siberian crane occur in Arctic tundra of western and eastern Russia. The eastern populations migrate to China in winter. The western populations winter in Iran and India. However the last wintering population in India was recorded in the year 2002. Probably this particular group had become extinct.

Taxonomy of Siberian crane

  • Scientific Name: Leucogeranus leucogeranus
  • Common Name: Siberian crane
  • French: Grue de Sibérie; German: Schneekranich; Spanish: Grulla siberiana;
  • Other names: Grus Leucogeranus Pallas, 1773; Bugeranus leucogeranus; Sarcogeranus leucogeranus; Siberian white crane; snow crane;
  • Family: Rallidae › Gruiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: Pallas, 1773
Leucogeranus leucogeranus was formerly placed under genus Grus and later under genus Sarcogeranus or Bugeranus. These cranes are monotypic species.

Description

The Siberian crane is a large bird, measuring 140 cm in length and weighing 5,000 to 8,500 grams. The wingspan is 200 to 230 cm. The male bird is slightly larger and both the male and female cranes have similar plumage. Except for the black primaries, the plumage is snow white.

The fore-crown, face and side of head have dark red mask extending from the base of bill to behind the eye. The bill is dark gray. The iris is pale yellow. The legs are long and pinkish red.

The juvenile crane has feathered mask and cinnamon plumage with white patches. Their call is a flute-like musical sound.
Birds of India - Siberian crane - Leucogeranus leucogeranus
Indian birds - Siberian crane - Leucogeranus leucogeranus
Indian birds - Siberian crane - Leucogeranus leucogeranus
Birds of India - Siberian crane - Leucogeranus leucogeranus

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Birds of India - Siberian crane - Leucogeranus leucogeranus
Indian birds - Siberian crane - Leucogeranus leucogeranus
Indian birds - Siberian crane - Leucogeranus leucogeranus
Birds of India - Siberian crane - Leucogeranus leucogeranus

Habitat

These Siberian crane species inhabit wide expanses of shallow fresh water, slow-flowing rivers, eutrophic lakes, moss-covered marshland, wetland depressions with unrestricted visibility and flooded plains.

Diet and feeding habits

The primary diet of these crane species is plant matter like roots, rhizomes, submerged leaves, seeds, bulbs, tubers, aquatic plants and sprouts. When the vegetation is covered by snow, the diet of crane shifts to food of animal origin like insects, fish, birds, rodents and other small animals.

Breeding

These crane species usually breed during late May to mid-June in Russia. Large nest of 50 to 80 cm diameter is constructed with grass and sedge near water. Normally two eggs are laid. The female crane incubates the eggs and the male stands guard nearby. Only one chick survives due to aggression between the fledglings.

Distribution

These crane species occur as two distinct populations, Arctic East Siberian (between the Yana and the Alazeya rivers in Yakutia) group and West Siberian (the river basins of the Ob, Konda and Sossva) group.

The wintering eastern population occurs in Yangtze River and Lake Poyang in China. The western wintering population occurs in Iran (Fereydunkenar near Caspian Sea). The small crane population, which used to winter in India ( Keoladeo National Park), had last seen in the year 2002. Probably it is extinct.

Movement and migration Patterns

The eastern crane populations migrate to China for wintering.

The West Siberian population migrates to Iran for wintering. The wintering southward movements occur during September to December. The migration towards breeding grounds occurs in March and April.

Conservation status and concerns

These Siberian crane species global population is estimated to be around 3,500 to 4,000 individual birds. They are legally protected in all the eleven range states under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

The overall population trend is considered to be alarming. They are Critically Endangered. The loss of wetlands and marshes due to human activities, hunting, poisoning, pollution from oil and petroleum are the threats to the survival of these crane species.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these Siberian crane species and has listed them as "Critically Endangered".

Biological classification of Leucogeranus leucogeranus
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Gruiformes
Family:Gruidae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Leucogeranus
Species:L. leucogeranus
Binomial name:Leucogeranus leucogeranus
Distribution:East and west Siberian Russia; wintering sites in China, India (last recorded in 2002) and Iran;
Diet and feeding habits:omnivorous diet; primarily plant matter like rhizomes, seeds and sprouts; also fish and small mammals;
IUCN status listing:
Critically Endangered

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