; class Aves, order Gruiformes)
A family of large, long-legged, long-necked, white, grey, or brown birds in which the head has areas of bare red skin or plumes, the bill is straight and medium to long, secondaries are elongated for display, the tail is short, and the wings are broad for soaring and gliding, the birds flying with the neck extended. Cranes inhabit plains and marshes, feed on animals and vegetable matter, and nest on the ground. There are four genera, with 14–15 species, many of which are endangered. They are found in N. America, Europe, Asia, and Australasia. The northern species are migratory. Grus grus (common crane), one of 10 Grus species, is found across Europe to eastern Asia, wintering in Africa and southern Asia.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.