demoiselle crane

Demoiselle Crane

Anthropoides virgo

CLASS Aves | ORDER Gruiformes | FAMILY Gruidae

RANGE Breeds across central Europe and Asia and winters mainly in north Africa, India, and Pakistan

HABITAT Grasslands near streams and other wetlands

DIET Grass seed, other plants, insects, lizards, and other small vertebrates

4 - 7 lbs

Up to 3 ft

5 - 6 ft

27 - 29 days

2 - 3 eggs

IUCN Status
Least Concern
demoiselle crane

The demoiselle crane is the smallest of the crane species. Queen Marie Antoinette of France gave the demoiselle crane its name. Demoiselle means maiden, or young lady, in French. The queen was enchanted by the crane's delicate and maidenly appearance.

Demoiselle cranes gather in large flocks to migrate. When they migrate they can reach altitudes up to 26,000 feet and cross the Himalayas despite cold temperatures and low oxygen.

demoiselle crane

The birds perform ritualistic displays that include bows, leaps, runs, wing flapping, short flights, jerky bouncing, running, and stick tossing. Cranes of all ages, paired and unpaired, dance.

Females nest in a mass of vegetation on the ground or in shallow water and lay two or three eggs.