Common Grue

Grus grus


  • Order : Gruiformes
  • Family : Gruidae
  • Genus : Grus
  • Species : grus

Binomial Name

  • Linnaeus, 1758


  • Size: 115 cm
  • Wingspan : 180 to 200 cm
  • Weight : 4000 to 7000 g


  • 17 years



XC : Jarek Matusiak

The call of the grey crane is a piercing and nasal “krooh” that carries far. On the breeding grounds, the adults emit more musical duets.

To learn more.




The Common Crane has a slate gray plumage, with black or bluish-black feathers on the primaries and secondaries. A red patch, a piece of bare skin, can be seen at the top of the cap. The top of the neck, the throat, the forehead and the nape are black. A white patch starts from the eyes and extends to the back of the neck. The long beak is grey with a little reddish at the base. The eyes are red. The long legs and toes are black. We can distinguish three long fingers, the fourth is insignificant. Both sexes are similar.
The juvenile is slightly smaller than the adults. It has a feathered head of light brown color.

MythologY – Symbols

For the Egyptians, the cranes went to fight, at the sources of the Nile, the pygmies, “kinds of small men”, says Aristotle, “mounted on small horses, and who live in caves”. According to the Greeks, the cranes put a stone in their beak when they cross the Taurus mountain, to force themselves to remain silent, and to avoid arousing the attention of the eagles. The crane is also said to have revealed to Palamedes several characters of the alphabet. It is said that by examining the invariable dispositions of the flight of cranes, this judicious observer would have imagined the letters V and Y; hence the name of Palamedes’ bird, given in Greece.


Common cranes breed in muskeg, wet heaths and shallow freshwater marshes, as well as in swampy forests. They winter in open country near lakes and marshes, or further out in cultivated areas.

Threats – protection

The main problem in its nesting areas is human disturbance which results in low breeding rates. Other additional problems are hunting and collision with power lines. In the wintering grounds, the species is threatened by habitat modification, mainly the reduction of oak forests, as well as by the pursuit of farmers because of the damage caused to crops.

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