Eastern Russia and China, Japan
Marshes, wetlands and rivers
IUCN conservation status
They've been declared a national natural monument in Japan, symbolizing fidelity, luck and love.
Powerful fishers, they're among the most aquatic cranes
Cranes feed on a wide variety of insects, fish, aquatic invertebrates, amphibians, reeds, grasses and grains. Individuals may submerge up to mid-body in the current to harpoon their prey with their long, slender bills.
Major Flight Challenges
Weighing almost 12 kg, they’re the heaviest cranes in the world. To take off, they run a few strides into the wind while vigorously flapping their wings. In the air, they fly with their neck outstretched and their legs held on the same axis, creating an almost perfect head-body-leg line.
Mating for Life
Monogamous and gregarious, Japanese cranes form a close-knit couple with their partner. During the breeding season, they engage in an elaborate and ritualistic dance that includes jumping, bowing and other postures. Both partners are highly vocal, uttering loud calls in unison that can last for several minutes.
Threatened by Deteriorating Wetlands
While populations in Japan appear to be stable, those on the continent are declining. The transformation of their habitat by human activities is the main factor putting pressure on the long-term survival of this species. There are an estimated 3,000 birds living in the wild.