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Conservation status: Amber

The crane is a huge, graceful, mainly grey bird with long legs, a long neck and drooping, curved tail feathers. Small numbers pass through Britain in spring and autumn, and there is a tiny breeding population in eastern England. Numbers in Europe have declined over the last 300 years because of disturbance, shooting and drainage.



Latin name

Grus grus


Cranes (Gruidae)

Where to see them

In Britain, migrating cranes are seen mostly in the south and east. The location of the single breeding site is kept secret to protect the birds.

When to see them

You are most likely to see migrating cranes in Britain in April and early May, occasionally in autumn.

What they eat

Seeds, crops, insects, snails and worms.


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-9-14 pairs52 birdsc40



In the UK
Southern and Eastern England


Patrik Aberg, Xeno-canto

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