Black-necked Crane

Black-necked Crane    Grus nigricollis

Etymology :

  • Grus : Latin word for Crane
  • Nigricollis:  Latin word Niger – Black; Collis – Collar , Neck    { Black neck}

Vernacular Names :  Ladakh: Kutung

Distribution in India: Breeds in Ladhak region.

Description:  Size of 135-139 -cm. It is mostly grey with a black head and neck. The lores and crown are naked and dull red. A small patch of white feathers are present below and behind the eye. The tail is black. Both the sexes  are similar. The Juvenile plumage is greyish yellow; neck mixed black and white

Habitat: It is found in summers at high altitudes of 2950–4900 m: grassy wetlands, boggy meadows, marshes along shores of lakes and small streams, and pastures; often near human settlements. In winter moves to much lower altitudes, down to 1375m

Food Habits:  They eat plant roots and tubers, snails, fish, shrimps, frogs, lizards, small birds and voles. In wintering areas, consumes waste barley, spring wheat and other cultivated crops, as well as tubers, seeds, earthworms, insects and snails. Feeds near cattle, pecking at their dung and at insects disturbed by the livestock. On the wintering grounds the birds spend most of the day foraging. As in other cranes, individuals in large social groups spend less time in vigilant behavior than when in small family groups. In breeding zone, forages in wetlands, streams and pastures; in winter, mainly in agricultural fields and pastures.

Breeding Habits:  Breeds in May-June. Like other crane species they are also monogamous. Nest built in shallow peat wetlands with shallow, on small, grassy islands or in water; constructed of sedges, grass, other aquatic vegetation and mud—three main nest types are made namely: reed, mud and ground. A clutch of two eggs laid. The incubation period is of 31–33 days