(2037) Grus leucogeranus.
THE GREAT WHITE or SIBERIAN CRANE.
Grus leucogeranus Pallas, Reise Reich. Buss., ii, p. 714 (1773) (Irtin and Ob Rivers); Blanf. & Oates, iii, p. 187.
Vernacular names. Kare-Khar (N. W. P.); Tunhi (Oudh); Chini Kulang (Hansi, Hind.); Bursnuch (Behar).
Description. Winglet, primary coverts and primaries black; forehead, fore-crown, face and sides of head bare except for a few white bristles ; remaining plumage pure white.
Colours of soft parts. Naked skin of head reddish ; iris bright pale yellow; bill umber-brown; legs and feet pale reddish-pink (Hume).
Measurements. Wing, 635 to 645 mm., 538 to 620 mm.; tail 205 to 218 mm.; tarsus 275 to 285 mm.; culmen 185 to 197 mm.
Young birds have the whole head clothed with white feathers and, according to Hume, have the white plumage tinged with buff.
Distribution. South-Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, through Siberia to Japan. In winter migrating to India and N. China.
Nidification. There is very little known of the breeding of this fine Crane. It is said by Godlewski to arrive at its breeding-haunts in April, leaving again in September. Dresser gives the following as known breeding-places : Russia on the lower Ural and in the Perm Government; in the Tolol and Targai Governments; in the Northern parts of Turkestan; Dauria, on the Vilnui River; in the delta of the Kolyma; Amur, Ussuri to N. E. Mongolia. As regards its nest Kuschel when forwarding me two eggs writes : " from nests of rushes and reeds on the ground by a lake." The eggs are not distinguishable from those of the Common Crane, though they may average larger. Eour measure 98.9 x 54.6; 95.0 x 62.0; 92.7 x 61.7 and 101.3 x 63*2 mm. Two eggs only are laid and the breeding-season seems to be June.
Habits. This beautiful Crane is not uncommon in North-West India but always arrives in small flocks. It has been recorded as far South and East as Delhi and once as far East as Behar by Inglis. These birds are the wariest of all Indian Cranes, keeping to extensive marshes, where they wade about or sleep all day in the shallow water. They feed more exclusively on water-plants than do most Cranes and do not resort to cultivated fields for this purpose. They fly in the usual V-shaped line but soar much less than Lilfordis Crane does. Their call has been syllabified as " karekhur," rapidly but rather softly repeated and they have no trumpet call.