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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Gruidae), a family of birds of the order Gruiformes. They are large birds with a long neck and long legs. Their standing height varies from 90 cm (hooded crane) to 155 cm (sarus crane). The lower part of the tibia has no feathers. The fore toes are joined at the base by a small membrane. The tail is short. The males and females have similar plumage.

Most cranes have a loud, trumpeting cry. They inhabit primarily open places, such as the steppe, broad marshes, or tundra. The northern species migrate. They settle in separate pairs, but during migration and wintering periods join into flocks. The nest is built on the ground, and each clutch contains two eggs or, more rarely, one or three. The young abandon the nest soon after hatching; both parents care for them. Their food consists of vegetable matter (seeds, berries, shoots, and plant rhizomes) and animal matter (insects, mollusks, and small rodents). Migrating flocks often damage crops. The numbers of many species of Gruidae have sharply declined because of the drying up of swamps and the cultivation of virgin lands; some species are on the verge of complete extinction.

The family contains 15 species in five genera. Three genera—the Stanley crane (Tetrapteryx; one species), the crowned crane (Balearica\ one species), and the wattled crane (Bugeranus) —are found only in Africa. The demoiselle crane (Anthropoides) is found in the steppes of Africa, Europe, and Asia (including the USSR). The genus Grus is represented by ten species; they are distributed in Europe, Asia, North America, Australia, and New Guinea. There are five species in the USSR: the common crane (G. grus), widely distributed in the central and northern belts of the USSR; the sandhill crane (G. canadensis), in northeastern Siberia; the white crane, or Siberian crane (G. leucogeranus), in the tundra of northeastern Yakutiia; the hooded crane (G. monachus), in eastern Siberia; and the white-naped crane (G. vipio), in the Amur basin. The Manchurian crane (G. japonensis), which nested in the Ussuri basin, is practically extinct today.


Ptitsy Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 2. Edited by G. P. Dement’ev and ‘ N. A. Gladkov. Moscow, 1951.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
I put it to you in full confidence of a response that shall be worthy of our national character, and calculated to increase, rather than diminish, the glory which our ancestors have transmitted to us, and which we ourselves have proudly vindicated in our warfare with the cranes."
He left them, one and all, within their own territory, where, for aught I can tell, their descendants are alive to the present day, building their little houses, cultivating their little fields, spanking their little children, waging their little warfare with the cranes, doing their little business, whatever it may be, and reading their little histories of ancient times.
In the above-described warfare, if a Pygmy chanced to pluck out a crane's tail feather, it proved a very great feather in his cap.
"O Excellency," said the smooth voice of Farag, laying the Field and Country Life square on the table, "is the afflicted of God who resembles Bigglebai one with the man whom the Inspector met in the great house in England, and to whom he told the tale of the Mudir's Cranes?"
It was a short, simple; carefully learned address, and the accent, supervised by Abdul on the steamer, allowed the hearers to guess its meaning, which was a request to see one of the Mudir's Cranes; since the desire of the speaker's life, the object to which he would consecrate his days, was to improve the condition of the Mudir's Cranes.
As he strode toward his sister the first figure he passed was that of Leonard Crane, clad in Lincoln green, with the horn and baldrick and sword appropriate to Robin Hood; for he was standing nearest to the lady, where, indeed, he might have been found during a disproportionate part of the time.
Probably in Crane also there was a subdued excitement just then; anyhow, in one flash he had drawn his own sword and parried; and then suddenly, to the surprise of everyone, Bulmer's weapon seemed to spring out of his hand into the air and rolled away on the ringing ice.
Crane. Nobody seems to know much about him, or where he comes from.
Crane is a genius who's made his own way, you try to suggest he's a murderer without daring to say so.
Ichahod Crane had a soft and foolish heart towards the sex; and it is not to be wondered at, that so tempting a morsel soon found favor in his eyes, more especially after he had visited her in her paternal mansion.
Such was the formidable rival with whom Ichabod Crane had to contend, and, considering, all things, a stouter man than he would have shrunk from the competition, and a wiser man would have despaired.
Certain it is, this was not the case with the redoubtable Brom Bones; and from the moment Ichabod Crane made his advances, the interests of the former evidently declined: his horse was no longer seen tied to the palings on Sunday nights, and a deadly feud gradually arose between him and the preceptor of Sleepy Hollow.