Distribution of the Red-crowned Crane in the World

  • Yoshiyuki Masatomi
  • Sergei G. Surmach
Part of the Ecological Research Monographs book series (ECOLOGICAL)


Globally, there are 15 different crane species, including the red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis), and are distributed on all continents except South America and Antarctica. Many species of crane are threatened with extinction due to the destruction and reduction of their habitats. Males and females share similar plumage, but in general males are larger, and there is no change of color throughout the year. Cranes are omnivorous feeders. There are two isolated populations of G. japonensis in Northeastern Asia. The first is the Japanese nonmigratory population, mainly found on eastern Hokkaido Island. The second population is continental and migratory, breeding in North China and Russian Far East and migrating to the Korean Peninsula and the eastern coast of China during the winter. The distribution range of the Hokkaido population is progressively expanding; however, that of the migratory continental population has been greatly reduced. The total population worldwide is about 3000 individuals.


Diet Distribution Morphology Population Red-crowned crane 



We sincerely thank Dr. Dmitry Korobov at Khanka State Nature Biosphere Reserve for his cooperation. We would like to offer our special thanks to Dr. Jonathan Slaght. Without his useful advice and persistent help, this paper would not have been possible. This study was partly supported by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (D-1201) of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan.


  1. Andronov VA (2001) Red-crowned crane. Red Data Book of the Russian Federation. Astrel Publishers, Moscow, pp 468–469. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  2. Andronov VA, Andronova RS (2011) Results of rare crane species marking in Amur region. Cranes of Eurasia (biology, distribution, migrations, management). Moscow 4:451–474. (in Russian with English summary)Google Scholar
  3. Andronov VA, Parilov MP, Darman YA (2013) Results of air census of cranes in the south of Amur Region, Russia, in spring 2012. Newsl Crane Working Group Eurasia 12:7–9. (in Russian with English abstract)Google Scholar
  4. Archibald GW (1976) Crane taxonomy as revealed by the unison call. Proceedings international crane workshop. ICF, Baraboo, Wisconsin, pp 225–251Google Scholar
  5. Darman YA, Andronov VA (2011) Red-crowned crane status in the Russian part of Amur River basin. Cranes of Eurasia (biology, distribution, migrations, management). Moscow 4:226–235. (in Russian with English summary)Google Scholar
  6. Flint VE (1987) Red-crowned crane. Birds of the USSR. Galliformes, Gruiformes. Leningrad: Nauka 280–289. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  7. Gluschenko YN, Nechaev VA, Red’kin YA (2016) Birds of Primorsky Krai: brief review of the fauna. KMK Scientific Press, Moscow. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  8. Goroshko OA (2015) Dynamics and current status of crane populations in Dauria (Transbaikalia, Russia; Mongolia). Cranes Eurasia 5:116–134. (in Russian with English abstract)Google Scholar
  9. He Y (1994) History on the rear birds in China. Hunan Press for Science and Technology, Changsha. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  10. Higuchi H, Shibaev Y, Minton J, Ozaki K, Surmach S, Fujita G, Momose K, Momose Y, Ueta M, Andronov V, Mita N, Kanai Y (1998) Satellite tracking of the migration of the red-crowned crane Grus japonensis. Ecol Res 13:273–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ilyashenko VY (1982) On cranes in upper Zeya River basin (Amur Region). Cranes East Asia, Vladivostok:100–101. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  12. IUCN (2016) 2016 IUCN Red list of threatened species. Available from
  13. Kobayashi S, Masatomi H, Koga K (2002) What are the diets of Tancho Grus japonensis? Bull Akan Intl Crane Center 2:3–21. (in Japanese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  14. Koga K (2008) The status review of the Tancho in Hokkaido: current threats. In Koga K. et al (eds) The current status and issues of the red-crowned crane, pp 13–20Google Scholar
  15. Krajewski C (1989) Phylogenetic relationships among cranes (Gruiformes: Gruidae) based on DNA hybridization. Auk 106:603–618Google Scholar
  16. Krajewski C, Fetzner JW (1994) Phylogeny of cranes (gruiformes: Gruidae) based on cytochrome-b DNA sequences. Auk 111:351–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lee K (2010) Wintering status of cranes in Korea. Cheorwon international crane workshop 2010, Korea, pp 8–9Google Scholar
  18. Ma Z (2002) Is it suitable to carry out development activities in the core area of a biosphere reserve? A case study in Yancheng Biosphere Reserve UNESCO MAB Young Scientists Award Final Report, pp 1–35Google Scholar
  19. Ma YQ, Li XM (2002) Research on the red-crowned crane. Shanghai Press for Science Technology and Education, Shanghai. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  20. Masatomi H (2000) The all of Tancho. Hokkaido Shimbun Press, Sapporo. (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  21. Masatomi H, Kitagawa T (1975) Bionomics and sociology of Tancho or the Japanese Crane, Grus japonensis, II. Ethogram J Fac Sci Hokkaido Univ Ser VI Zool 19(4):834–878Google Scholar
  22. Masatomi H, Momose K (1989) Distribution of the Tancho Grus japonensis in the breeding season of 1989. J Yamashina Inst Ornith 21:265–279. (in Japanese with English abstract)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Masatomi H, Smirenski SM, Momose K, Koga K, Andronov VA, Darman YA, Momose YS (2002) Status of cranes and storks breeding in the middle Amur River basin, Russia, in the summer of 1997. Biosphere Conserv 4(2):87–102Google Scholar
  24. Masatomi H, Momose K, Matsumoto F, Koga K, Tomiyama N, Aoki N (2004) Breeding status of Tancho Grus japonensis in Hokkaido in spring of 2004. J Environ Sci Lab Hokkaido Coll Senshu Univ 11:1–26. (in Japanese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  25. Masatomi H, Tomiyama N, Masatomi Y, Momose K (2016) Censuses on Grus japonensis wintering in Hokkaido in early 2014. Bull Akan Intl Crane Center 13:23–40. (in Japanese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  26. Meine CD, Archibald GW (eds) (1996) The cranes: status survey and conservation action plan. IUCN, Gland/CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  27. Peters JL (1934) Check-list of birds of the world. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  28. Roslyakov GE (1981) Data on some rare and insufficiently studied birds of lower Priamurye. In: Rare birds of the Far East, Vladivostok: Far East Science Center USSR Academy of Sciences, pp 112–115. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  29. Shibaev YV (1982) Distribution and numbers of Grus japonensis (P.L.S. Müller) in the eastern area. In Litvinenko NM, Neufeldt LA (eds) Cranes of East Asia, pp 18–26. (in Russia with English abstract)Google Scholar
  30. Smirenski SM (1988) Geographic range and population number of red-crowned and white-naped cranes. Ornithologiya 15:26–35. (in Russia)Google Scholar
  31. Su L, Zou H (2012) Status, threats and conservation needs for the continental population of the red-crowned crane. Chinese Birds 3(3):147–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Surmach SG, Momose K, Korobov DV, Masatomi Y (2013) Results of the red-crowned crane air census in Khanka Lowlands (Primoriye region), Russia, in 2012. Newsl Crane Working Group Eurasia 12:7–9. (in Russian with English abstract)Google Scholar
  33. Zou H, Wu Y, Wu Q, Gao X, Hao M, Ma J (2012) Diet composition and preference of Grus japonensis in Zhalong nature reserve during courtship period. J Northeast For Univ 6:85–88Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Red-crowned Crane ConservancyKushiroJapan
  2. 2.Institute of Biology and Soil Sciences, Russian Academy of Sciences-Far Eastern BranchVladivostokRussia

Personalised recommendations