Hatch Alert: 2017 Red-Crowned Crane Chick

Our new red-crowned crane chick is on a mission, living as an ambassador for cranes facing habitat loss and life-threatening, human-wildlife conflicts in their Asian range.

For the second time in a few years, we are happy to announce the successful breeding of our rare red-crowned cranes. It's a huge milestone in our mission to save a species from extinction. The chick was born to mom Akai, and dad Yuki. You may recall the couple also welcomed another male chick in March of 2014 (see our YouTube video below).

Conservation Status

Geographical Range Amur River basin in eastern Russia and in southeastern Asia, including China and Japan.
Habitat Marshes with deep waters and in croplands
Scientific Name Grus japonensis
Conservation Status Endangered 
Location in the Zoo Next to Wings Over Water theater

Today the red-crowned crane is on the Endangered Species List as there are only 2,500 of these magnificent birds remaining in the wild. They are the second rarest crane species in the world after the whooping crane. Palm Beach Zoo participates in the AZA’s Species Survival Plan (SSP) to help species that are threatened.

According to the AZA, an SSP Committee “is responsible for developing a comprehensive population Studbook and a Breeding and Transfer Plan that identifies population management goals and recommendations to ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied AZA population.”

The species is now protected in Japan, South Korea, North Korea, and Russia. Other conservation efforts include the creation of supplemental feeding stations and the installation of bird-visible power lines. Red-crowned cranes are native to Asia and spend their breeding season in Eastern Asia and their winters in the coastal marshes of Japan, China, and the Korean Peninsula. This species faces many threats in the wild due to human encroachment, deforestation, agricultural expansion, and road building.

Behaviors

The red-crowned crane is named for the red "cap" on top of its head, which is exposed red skin. The crane's large size help it resist many different predators. It can also outrun the predators with its speed. The bill of the red-crowned crane is very pointed and sharp, which the crane uses like a spear to make it easier to gather food. 

Size

The red-crowned crane is one of the world's largest cranes. It stands 158 centimeters (5 feet) tall, has a wingspan of up to 2.5 meters (8 feet) and weighs 7 to 15 kilograms, (15 to 26 pounds). Their large size and slow air speed also make this crane species prone to deadly collisions with power lines.

Communication

The crane uses very elaborate dances for courting and other cummunication between each other. This dance consists of series of bows, head bobbing, leaps, and various other gestures. They also have a "unison call" between the male and the female before getting into other dance elements. 

Both the male and female are monogamous and take part in building the nest and caring for the young, but the male is the one that typically defends the nest while the female nurtures the chicks. 

You can see the Zoo's red-crowned cranes by the Wings Over Water theater during your next WILD visit to Palm Beach Zoo!


Category Tag(s): Zoo Blog

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