Fun Crane Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Feb 21, 2024 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta
Crane facts are fun to read.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.8 Min

Cranes are one of the most symbolized and elegant birds of the Gruidae family. Cranes are a group of birds, consisting of 15 species and three genera. The key highlights of cranes are their long legs and large wings. The average size of cranes' wings is 70.8-94.4 in (1.8-2.4 m), which helps them to fly high. The average lifespan of cranes is 15-20 years in the wild and they can live up to 30 years in captivity. They can live in both grasslands and wetlands. Their diet includes various seeds, grains, leaves, and nuts. Cranes are omnivorous, therefore they can feast on insects, snails, small invertebrates, and fish too. Cranes communicate through vocalization and various body postures. Every breeding pair share a deep bond and perform various courtship displays to strengthen the bond.

Cranes are symbolized as a bearer of health and happiness. They are sharing a deep bond with humans for thousands of years. In Bible, cranes are symbolized as a messenger of Jesus Christ. They have appeared multiple times in Japanese folklore, as a mythical creature and a symbol of good luck.

To learn more, we have collected a set of interesting facts about cranes for you to read. You can also learn more about fascinating wild animals and birds by reading up more articles on the chicken and goose.

Crane Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a crane?

Cranes are long-legged birds from the Gruiformes group with 15 species of three genera.

What class of animal does a crane belong to?

A crane belongs to the Aves class of the Animalia kingdom.

How many cranes are there in the world?

There are approximately 650,000 Sandhill cranes and 490,000-504,999 common cranes in the wild. The total number of crane populations including all 15 species is unknown.

Where does a crane live?

The range of cranes' habitat, is spread throughout the world. East Asia hosts the largest population of cranes with eight species, succeed by Africa with five species. North America, Australia, and Europe have two resident species of crane.

What is a crane's habitat?

Their species shares 'cosmopolitan distribution', which simply means their range extending to all over the world except Antarctica. The ideal crane habitat includes wetlands and grasslands. There are some species as well who lay eggs on wetlands, but shifts to grasslands when chicks are born. However, cranes need wetlands to roost at night. Species like the Blue crane and Demoiselle crane nests and feeds at grasslands or semi-arid lands, but roost at wetlands. Roosting in wetlands is common among all crane species except African crowned cranes who can roost in tree branches. However, they are not waterbirds in a conventional way.

In most parts of Asia, cranes are considered a symbol of happiness, and farmers don't disturb or harm them. Therefore, species like the Sarus crane can use agricultural fields as a breeding territory without any hustle and that too in a large group.

In terms of migration, we can divide the group into two parts. One, consisting of species who are sedentary, who live in the same territory forever and another being highly migratory, who travels thousands of miles every year. Sarus cranes are such a species that can be categorized in both sections.

Who do cranes live with?

Cranes live and fly in large flocks. However, during breeding seasons, they live in pairs and establishes breeding territory. During the spring migration, the sandhill crane chicks get separated from their parents and live in a large flock, until they form their breeding pair.

How long does a crane live?

The average lifespan of a crane is 20-30 years. However, in captivity, with proper nutrition and care, they can more than 30 years as well.

How do they reproduce?

Cranes follow the monogamous mating system. The breeding pair remains together over the years and performs courtship displays to strengthen their bond. The sedentary population may lay eggs between December and August and the migratory population lays eggs between early April and late May. They prepare their nest with plant materials and the usual nesting places are swales, marshes, bogs and occasionally in drylands. On average two to three eggs are laid and the incubation period is of 30 days.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of cranes depends on their species. While most species are under Near Threatened status, sandhill cranes and Eurasian cranes are under Non Threatened status, and the Whooping crane is considered as an Endangered species by the International Union For Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Crane Fun Facts

What do cranes look like?

They are considered the tallest flying birds! Despite the difference in length, cranes of all species have long legs and large wings. Their habitat affects their feather and markings. For example, cranes belonging to open and wide wetlands are whiter in appearance, comparing to those who live in forests or grasslands. The darker tone on the forest dwellers helps them better in camouflaging. Even Sandhill cranes apply mud on their body for better camouflage.

The Great Crowned Crane is Uganda's national bird.

How cute are they?

Not just cute, cranes are gorgeous as well. Whenever anyone spots a Great Crowned crane, their inevitable charm mesmerizes them without a fail!

How do they communicate?

Similar to many other birds, cranes communicate with each other over vocalization and other physical gestures. With variations in sounds like 'purr', 'rattle', and 'trill' cranes express their feelings. Sandhill cranes can make real loud rattling bugle calls, which one can hear, standing 98 in or 2.5 m away. When a crane couple occupies a territory for breeding, they may perform loud unison calls to announce their occupied territory.

How big is a crane?

Cranes are typically 40-55 in (1-1.5 m) in length, with a wingspan of 70.8-94.4 in (1.8-2.4 m). The longest one of the family is the Sarus crane and the smallest one is the Demoiselle crane.

How fast can a crane fly?

Cranes can fly with an amazing speed of up to 25 mph (40.2 kmph). They are considered one of the tallest flying birds in this world. They fly with their neck and legs stretched.

How much does a crane weigh?

Cranes' weight depends on their diet, habitat, and species. The average weight of cranes is 8-22 lb (3.6-10 kg). The Red crowned crane also known as the Japanese crane is known to be the heaviest of all of them. A red crowned crane can weigh up to 33 lb (15 kg) before migration. On the other hand, the Demoiselle crane is the lightest one with a maximum recorded weight of 6.5 lb (2.8 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There is no particular name that is assorted or given to both male and female cranes.

What would you call a baby crane?

Baby cranes are called chicks.

What do they eat?

A crane's diet includes plant-based foods like leaves, seeds, acorns, berries, and nuts, along with insect meat and fish. Wetland dwellers feast on snails, tadpoles, small fish, small invertebrates roots, and tubers. The cranes with larger beaks can eat wetland foods with ease, while short beak cranes prefer foods available in drylands.

Are they dangerous?

There are only a couple of recorded instances where cranes attacked humans. They are rarely bothered by human presence, however, if they feel threatened they can peck humans.

Would they make a good pet?

The only two species available in North America are Sandhill cranes and Whooping cranes and it's illegal to own them. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act prohibits any action regarding owning, selling, purchasing, and hunting migratory birds. However, owning a crane can be very tiring as they require a huge space to live and you need to provide them with a constant supply of fishes and frogs.

Did you know...

The paper crane or Origami crane, locally known as Orizuru, is the classiest form of Japanese origami.

They can fly as high as 20,000 ft above the ground. Eurasian cranes flabbergast their other family members with the ability to fly over the Himalayas (32,800 ft).

In the migration period, 75% of the Sandhill crane population flies to the Platte River in Nebraska.

Heron vs crane is one of the most popular Google searches among ornithologists. A key difference between them is cranes fly with their long neck stretched out, but herons fly with their neck pulled back.

The Dancing crane is a popular attraction at Sentosa Island, Singapore. It is a unique water image show, where two cranes appear to be dancing together.

Cranes are afraid of scarecrows and black flags.

What is the crane a symbol of?

There are multiple occurrences where cranes are symbolized. Crane symbolism has left a large impact on humanity for thousands of years. In The Bible, cranes are symbolized as the messengers of God and are related to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Fishermen, native to many American tribes, consider the crane as a symbol of good luck. Spotting a crane before fishing is a good omen for them.

The crane is a symbol of eternal youth and happiness throughout Asia.

Including the Dragon and Tortoise, the crane is a symbol of good fortune and health in Japan. Cranes are also considered mythical holy creatures.

Types of cranes

There 15 species from three genera of cranes. The most common ones being the Eurasian crane and the Whooping crane being the endangered one with just 84 individuals left. Other notable species are Sandhill crane, Sarus crane, White crane, among others

Though they belong to the same group, there are some major and minor differences in different species of cranes. For example, Sandhill Cranes are closely related to Whooping cranes, however, a Sandhill crane is smaller in size than a Whooping crane. Also, Whooping cranes are migratory birds but Sarus cranes are known as non-migratory populations.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including owl, or Cooper's hawk.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our crane bird coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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