Demoiselle crane

(Grus virgo)


Demoiselle crane IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The demoiselle is a small crane standing 64-66 cm tall and weighing about 2-3 kg. Sexes loook alike, males are slighly larger than females.

The plumage is characterized by elongated feathers on the neck and over the tail. It is predominantly pale blue grey, darker on the wings and tip of tail. The head and foreneck are slate black, and there are tufts of long white feathers at sides of nape.

The iris is bright crimson or red-brown. The bill is short, straight and pointed, greenish, the tip tinged orange-red or pink. The legs and feet are dark horn-grey to dull black.

Did you know?
that Queen Marie Antoinette of France gave the demoiselle crane its name? Demoiselle means maiden, or young lady, in French. The queen was enchanted by the crane's delicate and maidenly appearance.


Class AVES
Suborder GRUES
Name (Scientific) Grus virgo
Name (English) Demoiselle crane
Name (French) Grue demoiselle
Name (German) Jungfernkranich
Name (Spanish) Grulla damisela
Local names Croatian: Zdral krunas
Czech: Jeráb panenský
Hindi: Karkara, Koonj
Slovakian: Zeriav stepný
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Appendix II (as Grus virgo) Included in AEWA



Photo Copyright by
Matthew Field



Range Widely distributed in Eurasia and Africa. Africa:Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco, Nigeria, Sudan Asia:Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea Rep., Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Yemen Europe: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Moldova, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Turkey, Ukraine. Vagrants may be encountered in many more countries.
Habitat Grasslands, wetlands
Wild population The global population is estimated to be 200,000–240,000 individuals by Wetlands International (2002).
Zoo population 375 birds reported to ISIS (2007). In addition numerous birds in smaller facilities, which do not report to ISIS.

In the Zoo

Demoiselle 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 Demimieux

Why do zoos keep this animal

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