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bird Cranes

Identify It >  Birds >   Cranes >

Scientific name:  Grus grus

Size:  Approx 120cm tall with a wingspan of around 220cm

Distribution:  Found mainly in Somerset, Suffolk and Norfolk, but population gradually expanding

Months seen:  All year round

Life Span: 13 years (source BTO)

Habitat:  Ponds, lakes, rivers, wet meadows, marshy wetlands, and stubble fields in winter

Food:  Invertebrates, frogs, small mammals, cereal crops, roots, leaves

Special features:  Common Cranes (Grus grus), also known as Eurasian Cranes, have mostly light grey plumage but the head, upper neck, wing tips and rear edges of the wings are dark grey.  There is a broad white stripe running from the back of the eye down the neck and there is a red patch on top of the head.  The legs are grey and the beak is a yellowish-brown.

Cranes perform elaborate dancing displays in the springtime which can include jumping, bobbing up and down, bowing, shaking wing feathers and throwing vegetation up it the air.  Cranes are also very vocal on the ground and in flight.  The call often sound like a trumpeting "Geruu" (which may explain the origin of the scientific name).

Cranes are believed to have gone extinct in the UK in the 1600's.  Since then Cranes have often visited the UK from the continent but none stayed to breed here until 1979 when a few stayed in the Norfolk Broads.  Since then the population has slowly increased and Cranes have now nested in Suffolk, Gloucestershire and Humberside.  There have also been additional Cranes, brought to the UK as eggs from the continent, reared in captivity, and successfully released into the wild.

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