Japanese Crane in Hokkaido, Japan
The red-crowned crane or Japanese crane, is a large East Asian crane among the rarest cranes in the world. In some parts of its range, it is known as a symbol of luck, longevity, and fidelity.
In the spring and summer, the migratory populations of the red-crowned crane breed in Siberia (eastern Russia), north-eastern China and occasionally in north-eastern Mongolia (i.e., Mongol Daguur Strictly Protected Area). The breeding range centers in Lake Khanka, on the border of China and Russia. Normally, the crane lays two eggs, with only one surviving. Later, in the fall, they migrate in flocks to the Korean Peninsula and east-central China to spend the winter. Vagrants have also been recorded in Taiwan.
In addition to the migratory populations, a resident population is found in eastern Hokkaidō, Japan. This species nests in wetlands, marshes and rivers. In the wintering range, their habitat is comprised mainly by paddy fields, grassy tidal flats, and mudflats. In the flats, the birds feed on aquatic invertebrates and, in cold, snowy conditions, the birds switch to mainly living on rice gleanings from the paddy fields.