The Common Crane (Grus grus)



Bird Documentary on the Common Crane


The Common Crane, or simply called Crane is the only species of the Gruidae family breeding in Europe. What is so special about Crane? The Crane is a huge bird with thin and very long legs and a rather narrow and long neck. The head is small and the bill is medium-sized, daggar-like and pointed. Head and upper head and neck show red, black and white. In flight the cranes show their long and broad wings. Their flight feathers are grey and black. Cranes like flying in V-formation thereby showing a majestic flight display with slow wing beats. Their plumage is a pale and more grey than bluish.


The Crane is a majestic bird of great reknown. Cranes show a majestic courtship display. This dancing display is carried out in spring to court the female, but also as sort of salutation to arriving cranes and also during migration autumn and winter.


Cranes are social birds and like gathering in larger flocks but are very shy towards humans and tend to keep as much distance as possible. The minimum distance is usually c. 300 m. Observing and photographing cranes, especially oneself trying to keep out of sight is a hard job. Cranes are


grauer kranich grus grus feld
Grauer Kranich auf abgeerntetem Maisfeld in der Diepholzer Moorniederung


The Crane in Europe


The Crane (Grus grus) is the only European species of the crane family breeding in Europe. From my point of view the Crane is the most majestic bird I ever had have the chance to cast eyes on. And let me add, meeting cranes and having the chance to watch them is utmost bliss.


This majestic bird has manged to faszinate man for centuries if not millenia. Cranes were part of mythology in the ancient world. For ancient Egypt the Crane was the "sunbird".


In classical Greek mythology the crane belonged to the greek gods Hermes (messenger of the gods) and Apollo (god of archery, music and dance). Moreover, the Crane symbolised awareness and wisdom. It is this proverbial wisdom directing us to one of Crane's  most characteristic behaviour: Cranes are extremely aware and very shy. Anyone wanting to watch cranes should know about this feature. Cranes tend to keep a large distance to man, which is mostly about 300 m and more.


As a heraldic animal, Cranes symbolise caution and sleepless vigilance. This is entirely owed to their caution or circumspection. The Crane is the heraldic animal of airline "Deutsche Lufthansa (LH) and in stylised form decorates the tail fin of their aircraft.



Cranes durring autumn migration


Q & A - Question and Answers on the Common Crane




Bird Facts: The Common Crane


breading season clutch size weight diet biotope reproduction




Cranes on a harvested maize field / corn field