The Siberian crane is a solid white bird with a red mask in the area of the face. They typically weigh somewhere between 10 and 19 pounds (5 to 8.5 kg), and they can potentially be 60-inches (152 cm) tall. Most of the birds live in Siberia during the summer and spring. In the winter, they typically migrate to China and India. Males are slightly larger than females, but other than that, they look basically identical.
These birds are severely endangered. Some ecologists think the Siberian crane could be on the verge of total extinction, and many efforts are underway to protect it. They only live in wetland areas, and human beings have destroyed massive parts of their habitat for a large variety of reasons. Some of the things that have threatened the crane’s habitat include damming projects, wetland drainage, and oil exploration.
Siberian cranes spend most of their time in or around the water. Nearly all their daily activities are performed in an aquatic or semi-aquatic environment, from feeding to nesting. For this reason, they are more aquatic than other members of the crane family and less flexible when it comes to habitat.
In terms of food, the Siberian crane is omnivorous. They eat a lot of tubers, and they also hunt for frogs, crustaceans, various mollusks, and insects. The birds also catch fish when they get an opportunity. Most scientists believe that they tend to feed more on tubers in the wintertime, but during the breeding season, they tend to be more carnivorous.
Before mating, the Siberian cranes go through a series of complex rituals. They do a lot of unusual dancing and perform calls in unison. Sometimes they exhibit this behavior at other times, but it’s usually associated with mating. Siberian cranes form a pair bond and they generally mate for life.
Nests are built in the swamp. In a typical breeding season, a Siberian crane female will lay approximately two eggs. Both parents help in the incubation process, with the male also serving as a guardian against predation. Incubation takes approximately 30 days.
In most situations, only one of the chicks will survive. It will typically leave the nest within 11 weeks, but it isn’t totally independent for approximately 11 months. The cranes become sexually mature after about five years, and they have been known to live over 60 years in captivity.