This crane has a small population, restricted to fewer than ten wintering sites whose combined area is small. It has declined at the majority of these wintering sites. Given the substantial threats to its habitat, it is likely to continue declining in the near future. Owing to these factors it is listed as Vulnerable.
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Distribution and populationGrus monacha
100 cm. Small, dark crane. Darkish-grey body. White top of neck and head, except patch of bare red skin above eye. Similar spp. White-naped Crane G. vipio has grey sides of neck and extensive patch of red on sides of face around eye. Voice Loud, high-pitched calls.
breeds in south-central and south-eastern Siberia, Russia
(BirdLife International 2001). Breeding is suspected in Mongolia
and two breeding sites have recently been found in the region of Heilongjiang, China
(Yuming et al
. 2006, Guo Yu-min et al
. 2007). Its global population is estimated to be c.11,500 birds (J. Harris in litt.
2006). The majority of the population winter in Japan
, with smaller numbers in China
and South Korea
. Over 80% of the population winter at Izumi, southern Japan, where 10,468 were recorded in 2009 (S. Chan in litt.
2012). A second Japanese wintering population at Yashiro (western Honshu) has declined considerably since the 1940s. There were 355 birds in 1940, down to 100-200 in the 1950s-1960s, 50-100 in the 1980s, 20-50 in early 1990s and about 20 birds in late 1990s. The current wintering population is currently lower than 10 birds (only 7 birds in 2012) (S. Chan in litt.
2012). An estimated 1,050-1,150 birds winter in China, including between 300-400 at Poyang, over 600 at Shengjin and Caizi and over 100 at Chongming (J. Harris in litt
. 2012). Around 114 winter in South Korea (Li and Mundkur 2004), mainly at Suncheon Bay. A total of 1,088 individuals were counted at the Yangtze floodplain in 2005 (M. Barter in litt
. 2006).Population justification
The global population was estimated at c.6,900 mature individuals (J. Harris in litt
. 2006), but is now estimated to be c.11,600 individuals based on winter estimates of 1,050-1,150 individuals in China (J. Harris in litt
. 2012); c.10,500 individuals in Japan (S. Chan in litt.
2012) and c.114 individuals in Korea (Li and Mundkur 2004). The population is thus best placed in the band for 2,500-9,999 mature individuals.Trend justification
This species's population is suspected to be decreasing at a moderate rate, in line with levels of wetland loss and degradation in its wintering grounds, primarily as a result of reclamation for development and dam building. Based upon winter counts, it is increasing at Izumi in Japan and Suncheon Bay in South Korea but the species is declining at all seven of its other known wintering sites (S. Chan in litt
It breeds in remote, wooded, upland bogs on gently sloping foothills and flat river terraces, mostly within the permafrost zone. It winters in freshwater marshes, wet grassland, coastal tidal flats and farmland. Threats
The key threats are wetland loss and degradation in its wintering grounds in China and South Korea, as a result of reclamation for development and dam building, especially the Three Gorges Dam and a proposed dam at the outlet to Poyang Lake which threatens an important wintering site. Conversion of rice-paddies to cotton fields at Longgan Hu and Dongting Hu has caused declines. A newly discovered wintering site at Suncheon Bay, South Korea, is threatened by development. The artificially high concentration of birds at Izumi, as a result of supplementary feeding, risks a major population reduction from disease or another catastrophe. Other threats in China include pollution of coastal waters, invasive cordgrass Spartina alterniflora
in tidal areas, pesticide poisoning, increased levels of human disturbance and over-fishing. Some poaching and hunting of breeding birds occurs.Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I and II. CMS Appendix II. Key protected areas include Norsky, Daursky and Khingansky (Russia), Daguur and Ugtam (Mongolia), Shengjin Hu, Longgan Hu, parts of Poyang Hu, Dong Dongting Hu and Chen Hu (China), Mundok (North Korea), Suncheon Bay (South Korea ) and Izumi-Takaono and Yashiro (Japan). Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct further surveys to identify additional breeding areas. Establish strictly protected areas in the Bikin river basin (Russia) and Suncheon Bay (South Korea). Expand the area or number of suitable wintering sites in Japan. Expand protected areas at Chongming Dao and Xinglong Dongsha (China). Enforce measures to minimise threats to wetlands in the lower Yangtze due to hydrological changes caused by the Three Gorges Dam. If the proposed outlet dam is constructed at Poyang Lake, operation of the dam should attempt to restore the natural hydrology; careful monitoring of cranes and their habitats will be needed and active mitigation measures implemented to ensure availability of foraging habitat (J. Harris in litt
. 2012). Prevent poisoning from pesticides and poaching. Establish local crane conservation groups in China.
BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.
Brazil, M. 2009. Birds of East Asia: eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, eastern Russia. Christopher Helm, London.
Chen Jian-Xin; Zhao Hong-Ming; Zhang Zheng-Hua; Liu Zhong-Bao; Li Hai-Long; Zhang Li-Min. 2008. The finding of White-naped and Hooded Cranes in Jingxin. China Crane News 12(1): 43.
Delany, S.; Scott, D. 2006. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Guo Yu-Min, Liu Xiang-Lin, Xu Chun-Zhu, Qian Fa-Wen, Li Lin. 2005. A preliminary census of hooded crane population in the breeding area of LesserXingan Mountains . Chinese Journal of Zoology 40(4): 51-54.
Guo Yu-Min; Gu Yan-Chang; Gu Jin-Xue; Zhao Peng-Cheng. 2007. Survey of Hooded Cranes in Dazhanhe Wetland N.R. in the spring of 2007. China Crane News 11(1): 19.
Li Zuo Wei, D.; Mundkur, T. 2004. Numbers and distribution of waterbirds and wetlands in the Asia-Pacific region: results of the Asian waterbird census: 1997-2001. Wetlands International, Selangor, Malaysia.
Li Zuo Wei,. D.; Mundkur, T. 2004. Numbers and distribution of waterbirds and wetlands in the Asia-Pacific region. Results of the Asian waterbird census: 1997-2001. Wetlands International, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Ma Qiang; Zang Hong-Xi; Nou Dong-Liang. 2007. Status of the 2005/2007 wintering Hooded Cranes at Chongming Dongtan. China Crane News 11(1): 16.
Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).
International Crane Foundation Species Field Guide
Status, Survey and Conservation Action Plan
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Butchart, S., Chan, S., Collar, N., Crosby, M., Gilroy, J., Peet, N., Taylor, J., Allinson, T
Barter, M., Chan, S., Harris, J., Li, Z., Morris, P., Smirenski, S., Yasuhiro, Y.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Grus monacha. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 17/03/2014.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 17/03/2014.
This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000)
Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004)
Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife
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Additional resources for this species