Wild Birds

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.

The Black-necked Cranes species is legally protected in China, India and Bhutan.


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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