Common crane

(Grus grus)




Facts about this animal

The common crane is a medium-sized crane species. Males are about 115 cm long, have a wing span of 180-200 cm and weigh about 5-6 kg. Females are slightly smaller.

The plumage is mainly grey with a cloak of loose feathers falling over tail. The head is darker grey, the upper neck marked by a white band from the eye to the upper back. The flight feathers are black.

Did you know?
that the main threat to Common Cranes is habitat loss and degradation which has occurred throughout their range? The principal causes are drainage, dams, changes in agricultural practice, development and other human activities.


Class AVES
Suborder GRUES
Name (Scientific) Grus grus
Name (English) Common crane
Name (French) Grue cendrée
Name (German) Grauer Kranich
Name (Spanish) Grulla común
Local names Croatian, Serbian: Sivi zdral
Czech: Jerab popelavý
Danish, Norwegisn: Trane
Dutch: Kraanvogel
Estonian: Sookurg
Finnish: Kurki
Greek: Geranós
Hungarian: Daru
Italian: Gru
Latvian: Dzerve
Lithuanian: Pilkoji gerve
Polish: Zuraw
Portuguese: Grou-comum
Romanian: Cocorul-mare
Romansh: Gru grisch
Slovakian: Zeriav popolavý
Slovenian: Zerjav
Swedish: Trana
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Appendix II



Photo Copyright by
Marek Szczepanek



Range The common crane is widely distributed in the Old World and occurs in the following countries either as breeding bird or as regular visitor: Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea DPR, Korea Rep, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal Lao PDR, Lebanon, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen Europe: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia former Yug. Rep., Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom As an occasional visitor the species may be encountered in many more countries, including in eastern Canada, and the United States
Habitat Tundra, open forest, shrubland, steppe and wetlands.
Wild population The global population isestimated to be 270,000 individuals by Wetlands International (2002).
Zoo population 125 birds, mostly of the nominate subspecies reported to ISIS (2007).

In the Zoo

Common crane


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 17 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
J. M. Garg

Why do zoos keep this animal

The common crane is not a threatened species. Zoos keep it primarily for educational reasons and as an ambassador species for wetland conservation.