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Asian Gardens Animal Fact Sheet
Anthropoides virgo

Breed across central Europe and Asia and winter mainly in north Africa, India, and Pakistan. Migration begins in late summer. There are six main populations of this crane found in over 47 countries throughout the world. The populations encounter diverse terrain, some even cross the Red Sea and eastern Mediterranean Sea. Most demoiselle cranes arrive to their wintering grounds by early autumn and they will return south in the spring.

Mating pairs of cranes engage in unison calling. The birds stand in a specific posture, usually with heads thrown back and beaks skyward during the display. The female initiates the display and utters one call for each male call. Though not exclusive to the courtship process, cranes also dance: bowing, running, jumping, stick or grass tossing and wing flapping.

As previously mentioned, crane dancing is not exclusive to the courtship process. It actually can occur at any age and is a normal part of motor development. It is believed to thwart aggression, relieve tension and strengthen the pairs bond.

Demoiselle cranes are the smallest and second most abundant crane species. Habitat loss and degradation are the threats to this crane. Their breeding grounds in the Eurasian steppes are highly attractive for agricultural development. The results are conversion of habitat, increased pressures from grazing, disturbance and poaching among other things. In agricultural lands, they are often shot and poisoned due to crop damages they cause. They are also hunted for sport, food and pets in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Habitat: Dry grasslands (savannas, steppes, and semi-deserts), and they also use agricultural fields and wetter steppe.  They do not stray far from a few hundred meters from water: streams, rivers, shallow lakes, depressions, and other natural wetlands.
Diet: All cranes are omnivorous. The demoiselle crane’s diet mostly consists of insects, beans, peanuts, cereal grains, plant materials and small animals.
Status: Least Concern (IUCN)
Approximate Dimensions of Adult: Height: 3 ft.
Weight: 4-7lbs.
Lifespan: Up to 65 years in captivity
Reproduction & Offspring: Nesting takes place in the patchy vegetation’s of the temperate steppe, where there is a good view of surroundings but the birds are not completely exposed. Nests show minimal preparation, small pebbles and thin bedding may gather, and are often laid directly on the ground. Usually two eggs are laid, with an incubation period of 27 to 29 days and a fledging period of 55 to 65 days. The male defends the nest during both periods. The demoiselle cranes fledging period is actually the shortest of any crane species.


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