Hooded crane

   ›      ›   Hooded crane - Grus monacha

The hooded crane (Grus monacha) is a small, dark gray crane belonging to the family, Gruidae. The hooded crane is distributed in Russia, Mongolia, China, Japan and South Korea. Vagrant cranes of these species were observed in North America and India. These crane species are monotypic species and are considered "Vulnerable". They are listed on Appendix I and II of CITES and Appendix II of CMS.

Taxonomy of Hooded crane

  • Scientific Name: Grus monacha
  • Common Name: Hooded crane
  • French: Grue moine; German: Mönchskranich; Spanish: Grulla monje;
  • Other names: -
  • Family: Rallidae › Gruiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: Temminck, 1835
Grus monacha is closely related to G. nigricollis and G. grus. Hybrids between Grus monacha and G. grus have been recorded in China.


The hooded crane is a relatively small-sized crane, measuring 100 cm in height and weighing 3,000 to 5,000 grams. The wingspan is 160 to 180 cm. Both male and female look similar. The overall plumage is dark gray. The head and upper neck have white feathers. There is a patch of bare red skin above the eye on the crown. The primaries, secondaries, tail, and tail coverts are dark gray and the legs and toes are nearly black. The eyes are orange-brown. The hooded crane juveniles have white and black feathers on the crown. Their call is a loud high-pitched and penetrating trumpeting sound.
Indian birds - Hooded crane - Grus monacha
Birds of India - Hooded crane - Grus monacha
Birds of India - Hooded crane - Grus monacha
Indian birds - Hooded crane - Grus monacha
Indian birds - Hooded crane - Grus monacha
Birds of India - Hooded crane - Grus monacha


The hooded cranes inhabit isolated sphagnum bogs scattered through the taiga forests, flat river terraces, forested wetlands in mountain valleys, freshwater marshes, shallow open wetlands, natural flooded grasslands, coastal tidal flats and agricultural fields.

Diet and feeding habits

These hooded crane species are omnivorous. The diet primarily consists of plant matter like aquatic plants, rhizomes, seeds, sprouts, roots, tubers, stems, shoots and leaves. They also feed on insects, frogs and crabs. For the winter feeding grounds in Izumi, the the Government of Japan has allocated funds to feed the cranes in winter.


These hooded crane species usually breed during May. They form long-lasting pair-bonds and are highly territorial during the breeding season. After courtship displays to select partners or to strengthened old bonds, the pair settles down to constructing nest with grass, rushes and weeds on raised ground. Normally one or two eggs are laid in April and May. both the male and female hooded crane take part in incubating the eggs. The male hooded crane guards the nest and chicks. The chicks are able to forage independently and they follow the parents during foraging.


The breeding hooded crane populations are distributed in south-central and south-eastern Siberia (Russia), Mongolia and Heilongjiang Province of China. Most of the wintering populations are distributed in Arasaki village, Izumi (Kagoshima Prefecture) and Yashiro (western Honshu Island) in Japan. Wintering populations occur in Yangtze floodplain, Poyang, Shengjin, Chongming and Caizi in China. A small number of these crane species winter in Suncheon Bay in South Korea. Vagrant hooded cranes have been recorded in North America and northeast India (Bird Life fact sheet).

Movement and migration Patterns

The hooded cranes migrate to the wintering grounds during mid October to mid November. They stay and forage and pass the winter there from mid October to March. The return migration to the breeding grounds occurs in March-April.

Conservation status and concerns

The global population of these hooded crane species is estimated to be 11,600 individual birds. The overall population trend is on the decline. The degradation and loss of wetlands and marshes in the breeding grounds as well as degradation of grasslands and reclamation of wintering grounds for dam building are the major threats to the survival of these crane species. Pesticide poisoning, increased levels of human disturbance, poaching and hunting of breeding birds are the other threats faced by these crane species.

The CMS (the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals) has listed these crane species on Appendix II. The CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) has listed them on Appendix I and II. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these hooded crane species and has listed them as "Vulnerable".

Biological classification of Grus monacha
Species:G. monacha
Binomial name:Grus monacha
Distribution: south-central and south-eastern Siberia, Mongolia, Japan, China and South Korea; vagrant populations in India and North America;
Diet and feeding habits:omnivorous diet; primarily plant matter like aquatic plants, rhizomes, seeds, sprouts, roots, tubers, stems, shoots, leaves; also insects, frogs, crabs;
IUCN status listing:

Popular posts in Birds of India
1.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grus_monacha_at_Nakagawa_town,Tokushima.jpg
Image author: Spaceaero2 | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
2.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/merula/5820629379/
Image author: Alastair Rae | License: CC BY-SA 2.0 (as on 2016-10-30)
3.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grus_monacha_Phila_Zoo.jpg
Image author: Viktor Kravtchenko | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Current topic in Birds of India: Hooded crane - Grus monacha.
Contact State Tourism or travel agents for bird watching and wildlife tours.