Demoiselle crane

   ›      ›   Demoiselle crane - Anthropoides virgo.

The demoiselle crane (Anthropoides virgo) belongs to the family Gruidae.
These crane species are distributed in Europe, Asia, Africa and Indian subcontinent.

Taxonomy of Demoiselle crane

  • Scientific Name: Anthropoides virgo
  • Common Name: Demoiselle crane
  • French: Grue demoiselle; German: Jungfernkranich; Spanish: Grulla damisela;
  • Other names: Ardea Virgo Linnaeus 1758; Grus virgo; Grus ornata; koonj in North India;
  • Family: Gruidae › Gruiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Anthropoides virgo is closely related to the common crane (Grus grus).


The demoiselle crane is a large bird, measuring 90 to 100 cm in length and weighing 2000 to 3000 grams. The male bird is slightly larger than the female. The wingspan is 150 to 170 cm. However it is the smallest bird in the family of cranes. It has a white neck stripe. The head and the neck are black and and the chest feathers extend into a black plume. Its call is a loud trumpeting sound.
Indian birds - Anthropoides virgo
Indian birds - Demoiselle crane - Anthropoides virgo
Indian birds - Demoiselle crane - Anthropoides virgo
Indian birds - Anthropoides virgo


The demoiselle crane inhabits grasslands close to water-bodies and also wetlands. It also inhabits semi-deserts with close-by water access.

Feeding habits

The demoiselle crane feeds on plant materials such as seeds and also invertebrates, worms and small reptiles.


The demoiselle crane breed during April and May. The nest is a shallow scrape on the ground among high grasses and cultivated fields with dry soil.


These crane species are distributed in Europe and Central Asia (breeding grounds). They winter in Africa and Indian subcontinent.

Movement Patterns

These crane species are migratory. They migrate from Europe to Africa. The birds from central Asia, cross the Himalayan mountains to get to their wintering grounds in the Indian subcontinent. The southward movement takes place during August and September. They fly back to their northern breeding grounds during March and April.

Status and conservation

The demoiselle crane global population is estimated to number between 230,000 to 280,000 individual birds. The loss of grassland and savanna habitats due to the ever-increasing conversion and expansion of agricultural activities is the main threat to the survival of these bird species.

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

Biological classification of Anthropoides virgo
Species:A. virgo
Binomial name:Anthropoides virgo
Distribution:Europe, Asia, Indian subcontinent and Africa;
Feeding habits:seeds, invertebrates, grasshoppers, dragonflies, small reptiles and worms;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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