White-naped Crane

White-naped Crane
White-naped Crane Antigone vipio, Heilongjiang, China, May. (Craig Brelsford)

The dark grey and white neck of White-naped Crane Antigone vipio is unique in the family. Breeds mainly northeast China, also adjacent Mongolia and Russian Far East. Birds from west portion of breeding range, or about 3,000 of the approximately 6,500 remaining White-naped Crane, migrate through Bohai Gulf and Yellow River delta to winter at Lake Poyang and Lake Dongting on Yangtze. Vagrants sometimes reach Fujian and Taiwan. Very rare vagrant Shanghai. ID Mainly grey; silvery grey on wings and coverts, darker grey on underparts and mantle. Tapering grey line penetrates white neck-sides, forming point below head. Nape, upper neck, and throat white; large naked red area from forecrown down sides of face, encircling grey ear patch. Juveniles like adult but rustier on head, neck, and wings. BARE PARTS Bill yellow; legs and feet pink. VOICE Bugles more powerfully than other cranes. — Craig Brelsford


shanghaibirding.com has research on all nine species in the family Gruidae in China. Click any link below:

Siberian Crane Leucogeranus leucogeranus
Sandhill Crane Antigone canadensis
White-naped Crane A. vipio
Sarus Crane A. antigone
Demoiselle Crane Grus virgo
Red-crowned Crane G. japonensis
Common Crane G. grus
Hooded Crane G. monacha
Black-necked Crane G. nigricollis


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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