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August 2016

Monday, 15 August 2016

The Common Crane

The Common Crane

The Common Crane (Grus grus) also known as the Eurasian crane is a bird of the family Gruidae, the cranes. It is the only crane commonly found in Europe along with the demoiselle crane (Anthropoides virgo).

The common crane is a large, stately bird and a medium-sized crane, 100-130 cm long with a wingspan of 180-240 cm. It flies with its neck outstretched and has slow, controlled wingbeats. The species is slate-grey overall and the forehead and lores are blackish with a red crown and white streak extending from behind the eye to the upper back. The overall colour is darkest on the rump and lighter on the wings. Juveniles have yellow-brown tips to the body and lacks the drooping wing feathers and bright neck pattern of the adults and has a fully feathered crown.

The common crane is fully migratory. The species is found in the northern parts of Europe and Asia. In former times the species was spread as far west as Ireland but became extinct in the UK around 200 years ago. Encouragingly, it has since started to return to Ireland naturally and there are now plans to help it return to Ireland in larger numbers. There is now a small population in Norfolk and a conservation project is currently underway at Slimbridge.
The species is a rare migrant in marshes and farm fields and are associated with quaking bogs and mires, particularly with near Alnus carr woodland.
Please be sure to send details of sightings of this bird in Shropshire and neighbouring counties to the county recorder or upload them directly to BirdTrack and, if you would, let Jo Langfield at natural England know joanna.langfield@naturalengland.org.uk
Jo Langfield