May 19, 2016 – White-naped Crane or White-necked Crane (Grus vipio)

These large cranes are found in Russia, Mongolia, China, North and South Korea, and Japan. They eat insects, small vertebrates, seeds, roots, and tubers on their breeding grounds and tubers, roots, fruits, and grains on their wintering grounds. Each year after reaching their breeding sites, they search for their mates from previous years, calling and displaying once they find each other. Pairs then build nests from dry grass and sedges in dense vegetation and aggressively defend their territories. Chicks fledge in about two and a half months, but don’t reach sexual maturity for three or four years. They are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN, as their habitats are threatened by drainage for agriculture, fires, drought, over-grazing, and human disturbance. Hunting and poisoning from pesticides are also potential threats to the cranes.