Family Cranes (Gruidae)


Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis)


French: Grue à cou noir German: Schwarzhalskranich Spanish: Grulla cuellinegra

Grus nigricollis


, 1876,

Qinghai Province, China


MtDNA analyses indicate that this species and G. monacha are each other’s closest relatives#R. Monotypic.


E Ladakh (NW India) and apparently Sikkim#R through Tibet to Xinjiang, Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan (W & C China). Winters from S Tibet–Qinghai Plateau, Bhutan and NW & E Arunachal Pradesh (NE India)#R E to Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau (SC China), and formerly in Vietnam#R.

Descriptive notes

c. 115 cm; 5000–7000 g; wingspan 180–200 cm. The only pale grey crane with black primaries and secondaries; black neck and tail distinctive; iris yellow. Juvenile... read more


Calls high-pitched and penetrating, including louder or softer “gorr-kro, gon-kro, gorr-kro... read more


Summer habitat at high altitudes of 2950–4900 m: grassy wetlands, boggy meadows, marshes... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds on plant roots and tubers, snails, fish, shrimps, frogs, lizards, small birds and voles. Recorded feeding on plateau pika. In... read more


Spring breeder; eggs laid from early May to mid Jun; in C & W Tibet, most laying in late May, but may not commence breeding in Ladakh... read more


Limited migration between high-altitude breeding areas and lower altitude agricultural valleys in... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. CITES I. Total population currently estimated at 10,070–10,970 birds, or 6600 mature individuals. Numbers are most easily counted in winter: six wintering... read more

Recommended citation

Archibald, G.W., Meine, C.D. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 January 2020).