Black-necked crane - International Crane Foundation

International Crane Foundation



Read More

Black-necked crane

Grus nigricollis

HEIGHT: 115 cm, 4 ft
WEIGHT: 5.35 kg, ~ 12 lbs
POPULATION: 10,000 – 10,200
TREND: Eastern and central populations stable; western population increasing
STATUS: IUCN: NT; Cites Appendix I; ESA: E; CMS I, II


Black-necked Cranes, the alpine crane, were the last species of crane discovered and described by ornithologists in 1876 due to the remoteness of their range.


Adults – red crown, head and neck are black, except for small light grey spot extending backward from yellow eye, ashy gray body feathers, black wings, tail and legs; juveniles – black and gray body plumage, cinnamon-brown head.

Download FREE Black-necked Crane images.


Black-necked Crane breeding range includes the Himalayan mountains, as well as parts of central China and northern India. Their wintering range includes parts of southern China and Bhutan, where they descend from higher elevations.


Click to view range map



Plant roots and tubers, insects, snails, shrimp, fish, frogs, lizards, voles and waste grain.


Listen to Black-necked Crane calls:

Guard Call | A sharp, single call expressing alarm.


Habitat loss and degradation related to climate change, changes in agriculture practices, pollution and environmental contamination.


Our work builds on the strong cultural ties to cranes in East Asia, to engage local communities and policy makers in the conservation of protected areas and their surrounding landscapes, including:

Expanding the size and range of Black-necked Crane populations in western China. We are:

  • Supporting pilot projects to reduce degradation around key wetlands through alternative livelihoods and agriculture practices.
  • Undertaking long-term monitoring of selected breeding areas to assess the impacts of climate change on cranes and key wetlands, and to develop measures for adaptation to climate change.
  • Strengthening environmental education efforts at Cao Hai and Ruoergai, using these efforts as a model to increase community awareness and pride in crane conservation in other areas of China.


Learn more about amazing opportunities to travel with the International Crane Foundation.

Become a member of the International Crane Foundation.

Learn more about Black-necked Cranes:

Mirande CM, Harris JT, editors. 2019. Crane Conservation Strategy. Baraboo, Wisconsin, USA: International Crane Foundation.