List Category & Criteria: CR A3cde ver 3.1 (2001)
2007 Assessor/s: BirdLife International
Evaluator/s: Bird, J., Butchart, S. & Crosby, M. (BirdLife
International Red List Authority)
Justification: This long-lived crane qualifies as Critically
Endangered owing to fears that its global population will
decline extremely rapidly over the next three generations
following the development of the Three Gorges Dam in China
which threatens the wintering grounds used by the vast majority
of individuals. If the impacts of this development prove to
be less damaging than is feared, the species may warrant downlisting.
History: 1988 - Threatened (Collar and Andrew 1988)
1994 - Endangered (Collar, Crosby and Stattersfield 1994)
2000 - Critically Endangered (BirdLife International 2000)
2004 - Critically Endangered (BirdLife International 2004)
2006 - Critically Endangered (BirdLife International 2006)
©IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN
Red List of Threatened Species. <www.iucnredlist.org>.
Downloaded on 11th April 2008.
The Siberian Crane, Grus leucogeranus, also known as the Siberian
White Crane or the Snow Crane,
is a bird of the family Gruidae, the cranes.
hopefully to come
2006: only two Siberian Cranes (both males) return to the
in northern Iran in October, one disappears later.
This species breeds
in arctic Russia in Yakutia and western Siberia. It is a long distance
The eastern population winters on the Yangtze River and Lake Poyang
the central population at Keoladeo
National Park, India
and the western population in Fereidoonkenar and Esfahan in Iran.
It breeds and winters in wetlands, where it feeds on the shoots,
roots and tubers of aquatic plants.
Siberian Crane (This is the last
pair which visited Bharatpur)
This is a large white crane.
Large males can exceed 140 cm (55 inches) in length and weigh over
10 kg (22 lbs).
Adults are all white, except for a dark red mask extending from
the bill to behind the eye.
It has a yellow iris and reddish legs. The male is slightly larger
than the female.
Juveniles have a feathered mask and buff or cinnamon plumage.
The voice is flute-like and musical.
The status of this
crane is critical, as it is expected to undergo a rapid population
decline in the near future. The wintering site in China holding
95% of the population is threatened by hydrological
changes caused by the Three Gorges Dam. The population is estimated
to be around 2000 in China.
Historic records from
India suggest that a number of them wintered there in the past.
In fact, Ustad Mansur, a 17th century court artist of Jehangir,
was the first man
to accurately paint the Siberian Crane. However, the number of birds
wintering in India has
steadily declined and the birds are no longer found there.
At almost 4,000 miles, the Yangtze is the fourth longest river
in the world, discharging into the sea about twice the water
of the Mississippi. For as long as people have kept records,
the Yangtze has been in the habit of periodically overflowing
its banks and flooding vast areas. Controlling that ancient
threat, along with producing electricity, are the main goals
of the Three Gorges Dam
Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
At left is a 1987 birds eye view of the Three Gorges
Dam region as seen with Landsat-5 satellite.
At right is a 2006 birds eye view of the Three Gorges
Dam region as progress on the dam is well underway.