Grus japonensis

The Japanese Red-Crowned Crane is a bird whose body and wing coverts are white, as is the top of the head except for the red crown. The neck and tail are black.

They prefer to nest and feed in marshes with relatively deep water, building their nests in areas with standing dead vegetation.

Mainland populations migrate across NE China, dividing into 3-4 wintering sub-populations: birds from the east portion of the breeding range move across N. Korea to areas near the DMZ. Birds from the west migrate along the N. China Sea to coastal wintering areas in and around Jiangsu. Japanese populations are essentially sedentary: some family groups remain in breeding areas, and others move to wintering areas Hokkaido. A nest of reeds and grass is built in relatively deep water, up to 20 inches deep. They will only nest in areas with dead standing reeds 12” to 78” tall. Chicks are brown with a white spot at the base of the wing. Fledging is in about 95 days.

Japanese Red-crowned Cranes are classified as Vulnerable. They are the second rarest crane, with current population estimated at 1700 to 2000 birds.

They breed readily in captivity, and captive-raised birds have been released into the wild at three natural breeding sites.