Family Cranes (Gruidae)


Red-crowned Crane (Grus japonensis)


French: Grue du Japon German: Mandschurenkranich Spanish: Grulla manchú

Ardea (Grus) Japonensis

Statius Müller

, 1776,



Subspecies status formerly suggested for mainland and Japanese breeding populations, based on differences in vocalization patterns; some variation between these populations in morphology, coloration and egg size, but preliminary DNA analysis has shown no significant genetic distinction. Monotypic.


Resident on Hokkaido, in N Japan; breeds also in NE China and in adjacent extreme E Mongolia#R and SE Russia. Winters in Korea and in and around Jiangsu, in CE China.

Descriptive notes

138–152 cm; 7000–10,000 g (up to 12,000 g in winter); wingspan 220–250 cm. White primaries unique in cranes; iris dark brown or dark green. Differs from... read more


Calls high-pitched and penetrating.


More aquatic than other sympatric cranes. In summer, frequents deeper portions of reed, sedge and... read more

Food and feeding

Generalist. Feeds on insects, aquatic invertebrates, fish, amphibians and rodents; also reeds, grasses and other plants. Waste rice and... read more


Spring breeder; eggs laid mainly in Apr, but also in May. Breeding territories vary widely in size, from c. 1–7 km² in Japan, to... read more


Mainland populations migrate across NE China, dividing into 3–4 wintering sub-populations:... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. CITES I and II. Global population estimated in 2009 to number c. 2750 individuals (range 2800–3300). Russian and Chinese populations mainly winter... read more

Recommended citation

Archibald, G.W., Meine, C.D. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Red-crowned Crane (Grus japonensis). 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).