Information about: Crane

Index | Crane

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Crane. A genus of birds belonging to the order Paludicolae. They are chiefly remarkable for their long migrations. In these journeys they usually fly in large flocks led by a single leader, the whole assemblage assuming a wedge-like form; the leadership is continually changed, so that it is occupied in succession by every crane in the flock. The European crane breeds in the north of Europe and in Siberia, and migrates southward at the approach a winter. It is a fine bird, attaining nearly five feet in height; with the exception of the neck. which is black, the body is of a uniform ashy gray; it has a noble and graceful carriage, and the feathers on its tail, which rise in undulating clusters, add much to its elegance. It frequents large plains and marshes, and feeds miscellaneously on fish, reptiles, frogs, molluscs, worms, insects, and even small mammals. The whooping crane, Grus americana, of North America is now extremely scarce. It is nearly pure white, with the exception of the bill and the face which are dull red. A full grown specimen stands over four feet high. The sand hill crane is smaller than the preceding, and is of a dull slate color, with a head similar to the whooping crane. It inhabits the prairies of western United States. The games and dances in which cranes are said to indulge are not mere idle stories; it is certainly true that these birds form groups in various fashions, advance toward one another, make a kind of salutation, and adopt the strangest postures.