1408. Grus leucogeranus.
The Great White or Siberian Crane.
Grus leucogeranus, Pall. Reis. Puss. Reichs, ii, p. 714 (1773); Irby, Ibis, 1861. p. 243; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 663; Blyth, Ibis, 1887, p. 166 ; Hume, Ibis, 1868, p. 28 : Brooks, Ibis, 1869, p. 237; McMaster, J. A. S. B. xl, pt. 2, p. 215 ; Hume, S. F. i, p. 235 ; Butler, S. F. vii, p. 187 ; Hume, Cat. no. 864 ; Hume & Marsh. Game B. iii, p. 11, pl.; Reid, S. F. x, p. 67; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 341. Sarcogeranus leucogeranus, Sharpe, Bull. B. 0. Club, vol. i, p. xxxvii (1893) ; id. Ibis, 1893, p. 439; id. Cat. B. M. xxiii, p. 261. Fare-Khar (N. W. P.) ; Tunhi (Oudh); Chini Kulang (Hansi), H.
Coloration. Fore part of crown and sides of head to behind the eyes bare of feathers. Plumage white throughout, except the primaries and their greater coverts with the winglet, which are black. Young birds have the head feathered throughout and the plumage tinged with buff.
Naked skin of head dull reddish; bill umber-brown; irides bright pale yellow ; legs and feet pale reddish pink (Hume).
Length of male about 54; tail 8; wing 24; tarsus 11; bill from gape 7.75. Females are rather smaller, wing 23.
Distribution. A rare winter visitor to parts of North-western India, chiefly the Eastern Punjab, Northern Sind, the North-west Provinces, and Oudh. Mr. Forsyth saw a flock at Dehri near Sasserani, and Col. McMaster shot a straggler near Nagpur. This Crane breeds in Siberia, and is found occasionally throughout Northern and Central Asia.
Habits, &c. We are indebted to Hume for most of our knowledge of this bird. It is found in India, either in family parties generally consisting of three (the two old birds and one young) or in small flocks, probably composed of birds in their second year that have not paired. They arrive in October and leave about the end of March, and during their residence remain constantly about particular large marshes (jhils), keeping in shallow water and feeding on water-plants. They are exceedingly wary. Their cry is described by Hume as a feeble repetition of a sound like Karekhar, the native name, but it is said by Brooks to be merely a whistle. By all observers this Crane is described as a most beautiful and graceful bird, excelling even the Sarus in this respect. The nidification is unknown.