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Species Guide
A photo of a Demoiselle Crane (Grus virgo)
Demoiselle Crane

Demoiselle Crane

Grus virgo

The Demoiselle Crane, Grus virgo, is the smallest member of the crane family, presenting an elegant figure with a length of 85–100 cm (33.5–39.5 in), standing 76 cm (30 in) tall, and boasting a wingspan of 155–180 cm (61–71 in). Weighing between 2–3 kg (4.4–6.6 lb), it is characterized by its delicate stature and maiden-like appearance, which earned its name from Queen Marie Antoinette.

Identification Tips

This species can be distinguished by its long white neck stripe and a notable black plumage that extends from the foreneck down over the chest in a plume. Although similar in plumage to the common crane, the Demoiselle Crane is slightly smaller in size.


The Demoiselle Crane inhabits a range of environments across central Eurosiberia, from the Black Sea to Mongolia and Northeast China, with a small breeding population also found in Turkey.


As migratory birds, those from western Eurasia winter in Africa, while their Asian counterparts, including those from Mongolia and China, spend the winter in the Indian subcontinent.


The Demoiselle Crane is known for its balletic dancing display, which is considered more graceful and less leaping than that of the common crane. This species also undertakes long migratory journeys and has inspired various cultural references due to its graceful form and migratory patterns.

Song & Calls

The crane emits a loud trumpeting call, which is higher-pitched compared to that of the common crane, contributing to its distinctive presence in its natural habitat.

Similar Species

The Demoiselle Crane can be confused with the common crane due to similarities in plumage, but it can be identified by its smaller size and the unique pattern of black plumage on its neck and chest.

Conservation status

The Demoiselle Crane is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating that it is not at immediate risk of population decline.

Demoiselle Crane Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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Demoiselle Cranes on Birda


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