Black-necked Cranes

The Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis) is a large, whitish-gray crane. It is also known as the Tibetan Crane.


It has a black head and upper neck apart from a whitish postocular patch (bare skin patch behind the eye) and a red crown patch. It has black primaries (longest wing feathers) and secondaries (shorter, upper “arm” feathers).

Distribution / Range

Breeding Range:

Tibetan Plateau, with a small population in adjacent Ladakh, India. Breeds near the High Altitude Lakes of Ladakh such as Tso Kar Lake.

Wintering Range:

Usually winters at lower altitudes in:

  • China (including Caohai Lake)
  • Bhutan
  • India


Estimated to be between 5,600 and 6,000 individuals.


Current threats include the cultivation of its breeding grounds and the opening up of the Ladakh Valley to tourism.

This species is legally protected in China, India and Bhutan.

Distribution Map
Black-necked Crane
Black-necked Crane
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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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