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Common Crane

Grus grus


The species has critically low number, varying from 3 to 5 pairs for entire Armenia, and breeding only at plateaus of the Northern Armenia. Fortunately, the breeding habitats of some pairs are protected in the Lake Arpi National Park, although still some cases of poaching have been reported from this area. What about the other pairs, which live in non protected areas, they are much more vulnerable, being frequently disturbed by people and livestock.


Nests in wide variety of shallow wetlands, including forested swamps (especially of birch and alder), sedge meadows and bogs. In Europe has adapted to smaller natural, artificial and restored wetlands. Throughout winter range, it forages in agricultural fields and pastures. 


Forages on land and in water by probing and picking, and searching for the food walking slowly in the shallow water or in the fields.



Usually two eggs; incubation 28–31 days; chicks dark brown above, pale brown below; fledging c. 65–70 days. Sexually mature at 4–6 years.


The young stay with adult quite long an then make mixed flocks for migration.


Omnivorous. Plant items generally more important, especially outside breeding season: roots, rhizomes, tubers, stems, shoots, leaves, berries, seeds of emergent wetland plants, grasses, forbs and crop plants; also takes acorns, nuts, legumes and waste grain and rice. Animal items more frequent in summer diet: mainly invertebrates, including worms, snails, insects and other arthropods; also frogs, snakes, lizards, fish and rodents. 


Spring breeder; most eggs laid in May. Nest a mound, c. 80 cm wide, of wetland vegetation; sited in shallow marsh or bog, often near trees.


Major migration flyways well known. They comprise: from Scandinavia and N continental Europe through W Europe to wintering areas in France, Spain, Portugal and Morocco; from NE Europe through C Europe and Italy to wintering areas in Tunisia, Libya and Algeria; from E Europe and W Russia, through Balkans and across and around Black Sea to wintering areas in E Africa, Middle East and Turkey; from C Russia around Caspian Sea to SE Iraq and SW Iran; from W Siberia through Afghanistan and Pakistan to wintering areas in W & C India.


Distributed throughout Eurasia. The subspecies G. g. archibaldi Ilyashenko & Ghasabyan, 2008, which is still under question, inhabits Eastern Turkey, Southern Georgia, Armenia and extreme North-western Iran.


The species is not globally threatened and is evaluated as Least Concern in IUCN Red List. However, its Conservation Status in the Red Book of Armenia is considered as Endangered (EN D). Also the species is included in the Annex II of Bern Convention and Annex II of CITES. To protect the species in Armenia it is necessary to re-assess its conservation status as it better corresponds to Critically Endangered (CR). Then, it is important to designate the other sites of its breeding as protected, and to begin development of the management plan for those. Another essential issue to be solved is the nation wide public advocacy campaign against shooting of the cranes.

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