GRAY (COMMON) CRANE

It is a big crane of gray coloration with black wing tips. The weight is 5-7 kilos; the wing spread is up to 230 cm. The head and the neck are black. The bird has white stripes at each side of the head. Adult species have a leather-like red spot at the back of the neck. The legs are black. During flight the crane stretches out its neck and legs (it may draw in its legs in cold weather). The birds constantly flutter with rare glides (during descent).

The flight is slow and steady. The birds often fly high in a flock and sometimes form a triangle (in case the flight is very long). They are very cautious birds with sonorous, tubular, clanging and somewhat sad voice that can be heard from the distance of 2 kilometers. The cranes’ clang in the spring morning hours can be heard from even further distances.

It is an omnivorous bird. Out of plant food it prefers cowberry, blueberry, cranberry, bearberry, plant roots, various seeds and pine nuts. Its animal diet consists of frogs, small rodents, shellfish and insects.
The bird prefers the region’s southern part for its habitats. It is very rare birds to the north of the Yenisei (it can be found as far north as Igarka). The crane is rare in northern taiga, but it nests all the way to Turukhansk. The bird is more common in central taiga where it prefers large watershed moors. There is the same population in southern taiga due to small number of moors there. The bird nests all over the forest steppes, steppes and lake-boggy landscapes. It doesn’t live in mountain moors.

The crane inhabits different kinds of moors (watershed moors and back swamps), boggy open forests, taiga river plains. It avoids the areas of human habitation. After the young birds have learnt to fly and are able to join a flock the cranes don’t stay close to boggy landscapes any more. The cranes fly to Siberia rather early (for Krasnoyarsk and forest-steppe region – 25 April); they fly back to the south in the end of August. The nest is a tamped bunch of grass in the moor (sometimes in the water) which is used for several consecutive years. There are 2 brown-olive or green-olive red-brown-spotted eggs in a set. The breeding period is preceded with typical crane “dances”.