GENUS: Grus grus
Height: 44 inches. Color is slate-grey with a red patch on the hind crown and white on the sides of the head and neck.
GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Scandinavia, central Europe to eastern Siberia. Prefers plains or marshy ground.
Omnivorous. Vegetable matter and small animals such as insects, mice, and small birds.
LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Terrestrial in habit. In the courtship display, both sexes extend the wings, stretch the neck forward, and jump up and down while trumpeting. They nest in marshes or bogs where they lay 2 eggs which are incubated for 32 days. The female does all of the nocturnal incubating. Young are able to leave the nest shortly after the eggs hatch but cannot fly for four months. They do not acquire adult plumage until 2 years of age. Life span is 22+ years.
Migrates into parts of northern Africa and southern Asia in winter. Flies in flocks of 20-40 individuals arranged in wedges or wavy lines. Voice used constantly during migration. Call is a loud "grooh." Cranes are very tenacious regarding their breeding grounds and will return to them even after disturbances, provided the terrain has not been altered by human interference.
A subspecies of the European or Common Crane.
The Lilford Crane can be found in the African Savanna aviary near the lions.
STATUS IN WILD:
Its breeding grounds fall victim to the increasing incursions of agriculture. Listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.