Demoiselle Crane - International Crane Foundation

International Crane Foundation


Demoiselle Crane

Anthropoides virgo

HEIGHT: 89 cm, 3 ft
WEIGHT: 2 – 3 kg, 4 – 7 lbs
POPULATION: 170,000 – 220,000
TREND: Eurasian, Kazakhstan and Central Asian, and East Asian populations decreasing; Atlas Pleateau of nortnern Africa and Eastern Turkey likely extirpated
STATUS: IUCN: LC; Cites Appendix II; CMS II


When first brought to France from the steppes of Russia, the Demoiselle Crane was so named by Queen Marie Antoinette, for its delicate and maiden-like appearance.


Adults – pale bluish grey body plumage, long white feather plume stretches from eye to beyond the head, long black feathers hang from breast, reddish-orange eyes, black legs, short bill; juveniles – pale ashy gray, with nearly white heads, gray tufts on the ear coverts.

Download FREE Demoiselle Crane images.


There are six main populations of Demoiselle Cranes occurring in over 47 countries throughout the world. The three eastern populations occurring in eastern Asia, Kazakhstan/central Asia and Kalmykia (between the Black and Caspian Seas) are abundant, numbering in the tens of thousands. There are also three remnant populations occurring near the Black Sea and Turkey. The two wintering ranges including India and surrounding countries and northwestern Africa centered in Sudan.


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Plant materials, insects, peanuts, beans and other cereal grains and small mammals.


Listen to Demoiselle Crane calls:

Contact Call | A soft, purring call expressing reassurance and location.


Habitat loss, including desertification, changes in agriculture practices, human disturbance, dams and water diversions, and illegal take including hunting, trapping and poisoning.


The International Crane Foundation is monitoring the status of cranes and their habitats from South Asia to Australia and implementing conservation strategies to address emerging threats. We are:

  • Monitoring wintering populations of Demoiselle Cranes in South Asia and, with partners, identifying threat mitigation strategies to secure the future of this species. For example, we are working with colleagues in Sudan to assess the status and population of wintering Demoiselle Cranes in the vast Sudd wetlands.


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Learn more about the Demoiselle Crane:

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