Sarus crane

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Sarus crane
Grus antigone Luc viatour.jpg
South Asian subspecies
Grus antigone antigone
Scientific classification
Binomial name
Grus antigone
(Linnaeus, 1758)
  Approximate current global distribution
Grus antigone

The sarus crane (Grus antigone) is a large crane that lives in the Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia and Australia. It does not fly north for winter or south for summer. It is the tallest bird in the world that can fly. (Ostriches are taller, but they do not fly.) It can grow to 1.8 m (5.9 ft) tall.[2][3] Its wing can reach 2.4 metres (8 ft) from tip to tip. It can weigh 8.4 kg (18.5 lb).[4][5] It lives in open wetlands.

Appearance and habitat[change | change source]

It is easy to tell the sarus crane apart from other cranes that live in the same places. The sarus crane is grey in colour with a red head and part of the neck. The sarus crane looks for food in marshes and shallow wetlands. It eats roots, tubers, insects, crustaceans, and small vertebrate prey. Like other cranes, the sarus crane forms long-lasting pairs and holds territories. There they perform territorial and courtship displays which include loud trumpeting, leaps and dance-like movements.

It lives in wetlands, and in agricultural lands close to humans. Elsewhere, the species has been eliminated in many parts of its former range.[4]

The main breeding season is during the rainy season, when the pair builds an enormous nest "island", a circular platform of reeds and grasses nearly two metres in diameter and high enough to stay above the water.

Threats[change | change source]

There are fewer sarus cranes than there were a hundred years ago. The cranes alive today are perhaps 2.5% of the numbers that existed in the 1850s. The stronghold of the species is Rajasthan, India. The people in Rajasthan have traditions saying it is a very good bird.[4]

Tradition[change | change source]

People in India use the sarus crane as a symbol of faithfulness. This is because Indian tradition says the cranes mate for life and that, when a crane's mate dies, it will become very sad or even starve itself to death.

References[change | change source]

  1. BirdLife International (2012). "Grus antigone". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 16 July 2012. Cite has empty unknown parameter: |last-author-amp= (help)CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  2. These and other figures refer to the Indian subspecies, Grus antigone antigone.
  3. Wood T.C. & Krajewsky C. 1996. Mitochondrial DNA sequence variation among the subspecies of Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) (PDF). The Auk 113 (3): 655–663. [1] Archived 2008-10-15 at the Wayback Machine
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Vyas, Rakesh (2002). "Status of sarus crane Grus antigone antigone in Rajasthan and its ecological requirements" (PDF). Zoos' Print Journal. 17 (2): 691–695.
  5. Blanford, W.T (1896). "A note on the two sarus cranes of the Indian region". Ibis. 2: 135–136.

Other websites[change | change source]