Demoiselle cranes gather in large flocks whilst on migration, but once they reach their breeding grounds they gradually become territorial, with each pair nesting on their own. They pair for life, and the bond between two individuals is strengthened by duets, and ballet-like dancing. Demoiselle cranes are the smallest of the crane species, and are famous for their elaborate communication methods. With a deep rasping voice, and spectacular dancing, contact both within pairs and amongst large flocks is of vital importance.
Scientific name: Anthropoides virgo
Golden eagles take demoiselle cranes on the wing as they migrate high over the Himalayas.
This was a classic long lens shoot from ground level using a 600mm lens, sometimes with a doubler. The team spent lots of time scouring the mountain tops around Annapurna with binoculars trying to locate the flocks of migrating cranes. When the demoiselles were eventually spotted, with the eagles in pursuit, the camera crew was some distance away and unable to get closer.
Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
The following habitats are found across the Demoiselle crane distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
The Demoiselle Crane, Anthropoides virgo, is a species of crane found in central Eurasia, ranging from the Black Sea to Mongolia and North Eastern China. There is also a small breeding population in Turkey. These cranes are migratory birds. Birds from western Eurasia will spend the winter in Africa whilst the birds from Asia, Mongolia and China will spend the winter in the Indian subcontinent. The bird is symbolically significant in the culture of North India and Pakistan, where it is known as the koonj.
Take a trip through the natural world with our themed collections of video clips from the natural history archive.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.