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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 13:42 EDT

Siberian Crane

The Siberian Crane (Grus leucogeranus), also known as the Siberian White Crane or Snow Crane, is a species of bird found in arctic Russia in Yakutia and western Siberia. It is a migratory species. Eastern populations winter on the Yangtze River and Lake Poyang in China. Central populations winter at Keoladeo National Park, India. Western populations winter in Fereidoonkenar and Esfahan in Iran. It is a bird of wetlands both in breeding and wintering habitats.

This is a large white crane, which stands 55 inches tall and has a wingspan of 83 to 91 inches. It weighs 10.8 to 19 pounds. It has Large males can reach lengths of 60 inches and weigh as much as 22 pounds. The adult is all white, except for a dark red mask that extends from the bill to behind the eye. The iris is yellow. The legs are reddish. The male is slightly larger than the female. The young have beige or cinnamon colored plumage and a feathered mask. The vocalizations are flute-like and musical. Its diet consists of shoots, roots, tubers and aquatic plants.

This species is critically endangered and the total population is expected to decline further in the near future. The wintering site in China which holds 95% of the population (about 2000 individuals) is threatened by hydrological changes caused by the Three Gorges Dam. The Indian population steadily declined and is no longer present there. The Siberian Crane is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies and is subject of a Memorandum of Understanding concluded under the Bonn Convention.

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Siberian Crane