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A photo of a Hooded Crane (Grus monacha)
Hooded Crane

Hooded Crane

Grus monacha

The Hooded Crane, Grus monacha, presents a striking figure with its predominantly grey plumage. The crown of its head and the upper neck are a contrasting white, save for a distinctive patch of bare red skin situated just above the eye. This species is among the smaller members of the crane family, yet it remains a sizeable bird. It measures approximately 1 meter (3.3 feet) in length, tips the scales at around 3.7 kilograms (8.2 pounds), and boasts a wingspan that stretches to about 1.87 meters (6.1 feet).

Identification Tips

When observing the Hooded Crane, look for its unique white hood, which stands out against the grey of its body. The red patch above the eye is also a key identifier. Its stature is somewhat less imposing than that of other cranes, but it is still a large bird with a commanding presence.


The Hooded Crane is native to the vast expanses of East Asia, where it frequents the wetlands and marshes that provide it with the resources it needs to thrive.


During the breeding season, the Hooded Crane can be found in south-central and southeastern Siberia, with suspected breeding populations in Mongolia. Come winter, over 80% of the species congregates in Izumi, southern Japan. Additional wintering grounds include locations in South Korea and China, with notable numbers in Chongming Dongtan, Shanghai. Occasionally, this bird has been spotted as a vagrant in unexpected locales such as Tennessee and Indiana in the United States, and more recently, in Siargao, Philippines.


The Hooded Crane is a migratory species, with a significant portion of its population undertaking long journeys between breeding and wintering grounds. It has been known to associate with other crane species, such as the Sandhill Crane, during migration.

Conservation Status

With an estimated population of 11,600 individuals, the Hooded Crane is currently classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The primary threats to its survival are habitat loss and degradation due to human activities such as land reclamation and dam construction. Conservation efforts have been initiated since 2008, involving local universities, NGOs, and communities to secure safer wintering sites. The species is also listed on Appendix I and II of CITES, and organizations like Grus monacha International Aid are dedicated to its protection.

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Hooded Cranes on Birda


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