Demoiselle Crane

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Related to Grus virgo: Anthropoides virgo

Demoiselle Crane

 

(Anthropoides virgo), or demoiselle, a bird of the family Gruidae. It measures about 90 cm long and weighs 2-2.7 kg. The plumage is bluish gray; the head and neck are black. The crop has long black feathers, and there are tufts of white feathers along the sides of the head.

The demoiselle crane is distributed in the dry steppes and semideserts of Europe, Asia, and northwestern Africa. In the USSR it is found from the southwestern borders to Tuva and Transbaikalia. It winters in Africa and southern Asia. The number of demoiselle cranes and their area of distribution have diminished sharply as a result of the plowing of virgin lands and the use of chemical fertilizers. The bird lays one to three eggs on the ground, often without any nesting material. The eggs are primarily incubated by the female for about one month. The demoiselle crane feeds on plant shoots, on seeds, and, less frequently, on insects.