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Red-crowned Crane (Grus japonensis) Fact Sheet: Distribution & Habitat

Red-crowned Crane (Grus japonensis)


  •  Two main breeding populations (Archibald & Meine 1996) (Swengel 1996a):
    • Mainland eastern Asia
      • Breeds in northeast China and southeast Russia
      • Winters in Korea and Jiangsu, China
    • Resident, non-migratory in eastern Hokkaido, Northern Japan
      • Near Kushiro Mire, a 45,000 acres marshland
  • Rare records in Taiwan
  • First record in 2003 in Mongolia (BirdLife International 2016)
  • Previous distribution also in southwestern Hokkaido until 100 years ago (Masatomi 1981)


  • Prefer deeper water than other cranes for feeding (Archibald & Meine 1996) (Meine & Archibald 1996)
    • Frequent reed, sedge, and cat-tail marshes; reed swamps in China (Ma 1981)
    • Visit crop or pasture land, dykes
  • Seasonal variation in habitats occupied in Japan (Meine & Archibald 1996):
    • Summer to fall: open low meadows, bogs, wet meadows; often pasture lands
    • Winter: coastal salt marshes, rivers, freshwater marshes, rice paddies, cultivated fields
  • Roost at night in shallow water, or at times on mudflats, sandbars, dry ground (Meine & Archibald 1996)
  • For nesting, require standing dead vegetation

Red-crowned Crane Distribution

Red-crowned Crane distribution map

Red-crowned cranes live in southeast Russia, northeast China, Mongolia (first reported in 2003), and Japan.

Adapted from according to IUCN fact sheet. Click here or on map for detailed distribution (IUCN).

Page Citations

Archibald & Meine (1996)
BirdLife International (2016)
IUCN (2009)
Ma (1981)
Masatomi (1981)
Meine & Archibald (1996)
Swengel (1996a)

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