The Siberian Crane or the Snow Crane: facts at a Glance
The Siberian crane (Leucogeranus leucogeranus), are also known as the Siberian white crane or the snow crane. Siberian crane are nearly all snowy white, except for their black primary feathers that are visible in flight and with two breeding populations in the Arctic tundra of western and eastern Russia. The eastern populations migrate during winter to China while the western population migrates in Iran, India and Nepal during winter. Among the cranes, they make the longest distance migrations.
Location of the Siberian crane:
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Distribution of Siberian Cranes in India:
Picture of Siberian cranes:
Image source: animaliaz-life.com
Facts at a Glance about Siberian Cranes:
Species: G. leucogeranus
Height: 140 cm, 5 ft.
Weight: 4.9 to 8.6 kg
Population: 2,900 to 3,000
Trend: Critically Endangered, Population in Rapid decline
Diet: Omnivorous (Plants, Small Rodents, Earthworms, and Fish)
Habitat: Wetlands & Marshlands
Average Clutch Size: 2
Predators: Fox, Eagle, Wildcats
Wing Span: 2.1 to 2.3 m
Average Age: 15 to 30 years
Interesting and Fun Facts about Siberian Crane:
How to recognize Siberian Crane?
It is quite easy to see a Siberian crane out of a flock of birds because of its unique red coloured mask which covers its fore crown, forehead, face and sides of the head, ending at the back of the eyes.
Though it is easy to distinguish this species of crane from others, it is really tough to differentiate a male from a female Siberian crane. But female crane is a bit smaller in size and has a little shorter beak.
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The colour of its eyes is a pale yellow, while the legs and toes are of reddish colour.
Siberian cranes, as the name suggests, are native to Siberia. Though earlier, these birds also used to populate the central region of Siberia but now they are restricted to the eastern and western parts only. They need aquatic environments such as wetlands and marshes to breed, feed and roost.
The Mating habits of Siberian Cranes:
The mating season for these fowls start from May and lasts till June. Their mating calls are a set of coordinated body movements and sounds, with which they attract their partners. Siberian cranes stand in a specific posture, throw their heads back and point their beaks skywards.
During mating a male lifts up its wings over its back while making a mating call, whereas, a female keeps its wings folded by its side.
How Eggs are Hatched?
The Siberian cranes make their nests in bogs, marshes and other wetlands where the water is fresh and the visibility is good. The female lays two eggs on an average and then these eggs are incubated for 29 days by both, the male and female crane. The chicks take 70-80 days to take first flight.
What Siberian Cranes Eat?
Siberian cranes are omnivores in nature but it is noted that most times, with exceptions of breeding season, these creatures depend mostly on a vegetarian diet. They have good abilities to easily dig into wet soil so these fowls are able to excavate nutritive roots and tubers from the wetlands easily. Some have also been seen to eat earthworms, cancers and small insects.
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Why Siberian Cranes are Vulnerable?
These birds are highly vulnerable mostly because their habitats are being captured by humans. Another reason behind the dipping population of these creatures is that they have been killed on their migrating route for enjoyment and their meat.
Why they Migrate?
They are migratory birds and migrate to all tropical countries with warmer winters. The winters are cold in their native places: Russia and Siberia, so they fly east in search of warmer climate.
To reach the wintering grounds these cranes have to fly at high altitudes, mainly to cross the mighty Himalayan ranges.
Hence, these birds travel to a number of south-east Asian countries including India. Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Rajasthan is famous for the migratory Siberian cranes.