Eurasian cranes Grus grus, photographed by Nicole Bouglouan.

Belongs within: Gruiformes.

The Gruidae, cranes, are a group of large long-legged and -necked birds found in the Old World and North America. They are highly vocal and many produce loud, melodious trumpeting calls. It is generally agreed that the African crowned cranes of the genus Balearica, distinguished by a crown of stiff golden feathers on top of the head, are the sister taxon to the remaining living species (Livezey 1998). The blue crane Anthropoides paradiseus of southern Africa and demoiselle crane A. virgo of central Eurasia are relatively small cranes with predominantly blue-grey plumage and elongate wing coverts. The species of the genus Grus are larger and commonly have arched tertiaries.

Synapomorphies (from Livezey 1998): Os lacrimale with processus orbitalis highly pneumatic, having one or more conspicuous foramina pneumatica on facies lateralis; carina sterni, margo cranialis, with sulcus carinae deep and ventrally extensive; depressio m. brachialis of extremitas proximalis ulnae with prominent crista brachialis proximally; margo dorsalis of extremitas distalis radii with expansion producing approximate symmetry with tuberculum aponeurosis; condylus lateralis of extremitas distalis tibiotarsi flattened or notched distally; fossa parahypotarsalis medialis, distal extent relative to hypotarsus, with crista medialis hypotarsi narrow or obsolete; scapulars with conspicuous elongation combined with ventral curvature; 19-25 secondary remiges.

<==Gruidae [Anthropoidinae, Anthropoidini, Gruini, Megalornithidae, Megalornithiformes]
    |  i. s.: Palaeogrus Portis 1884M02
    |           |--*P. princeps Portis 1884 (see below for synonymy)M02
    |           `--P. hordwelliensis (Lydekker 1891) [=Grus hordwelliensis, Ornitocnemus hordwelliensis]M02
    |         Geranopsis Lydekker 1891M02
    |           `--*G. hastingsiae Lydekker 1891M02
    |         Eobalearica tugarinovi Gureev 1949M09
    |--Balearica Brisson 1760BKB15, M02 [Balearicinae]
    |    |--B. excelsa (Milne-Edwards 1868) [=Grus excelsa, Ornitocnemus excelsa, Palaeogrus excelsa]M02
    |    |--B. exiguaJM14
    |    |--B. pavonina (Linnaeus 1758)L98
    |    |    |--B. p. pavoninaRN72
    |    |    `--B. p. cecilaeRN72
    |    `--B. regulorum (Bennett 1833)L98
    |         |--B. r. regulorumK08 [=B. pavonina regulorumRN72]
    |         `--B. r. gibbericepsK08 [=B. pavonina gibbericepsRN72]
         |--‘Grus’ canadensis (Linnaeus 1758)BKB15, L98 [=Ardea canadensisJ23]
         |    |--G. c. canadensisUSDI77
         |    |--G. c. nesiotesUSDI77
         |    `--G. c. pullaUSDI77
         `--+--+--Bugeranus Gloger 1841BKB15, L98
            |  |    `--B. carunculatus (Gmelin 1789)BKB15, M02 [=Grus carunculatusL98]
            |  `--Anthropoides Vieillot 1816BKB15, L98
            |       |--A. paradiseus Lichtenstein 1793BKB15, L98 [=Grus paradiseaL98, Tetrapteryx paradiseaRN72]
            |       `--A. virgo Linnaeus 1758BKB15, L98 [=Grus virgoL98]
            `--Grus Brisson 1760BKB15, CC10 [incl. Leucogeranus Bonaparte 1855L98, Megalornis Gray 1841B94; Megalornithinae]
                 |  i. s.: G. cinereaC01
                 |         G. marshiFP64
                 |         G. moldavica (Kuročkin & Ganea 1972) [=Probalearica moldavica]M02
                 |         G. pentelici Gaudry 1862 (see below for synonymy)M02
                 |         G. primigenia Milne-Edwards 1869 (see below for synonymy)M02
                 |--+--G. leucogeranus (Pallas 1773)BKB15, M02 [=Leucogeranus leucogeranusL98]
                 |  `--+--G. antigone (Linnaeus 1758)BKB15, M02
                 |     |    |--G. a. antigoneWK96
                 |     |    |--G. a. gillaeWK96
                 |     |    `--G. a. sharpeiWK96
                 |     `--+--G. rubicunda (Perry 1810)BKB15, L98 (see below for synonymy)
                 |        `--G. vipio Pallas 1811BKB15, L98
                 `--+--G. japonensis (Müller 1776)BKB15, L98 [=Ardea japonensisM01]
                    `--+--G. americana (Linnaeus 1758)BKB15, L98 [=Ardea americanusJ23]
                       `--+--*G. grus (Linnaeus 1758)CC10, BKB15, M02 [=Ardea grusCC10; incl. G. turfa Portis 1884M02]
                          |    |--G. g. grusI92
                          |    `--G. g. lilfordi Sharpe 1894I92
                          `--+--G. monacha Temminck 1835BKB15, L98
                             `--G. nigricollis Prezhwalsky 1876BKB15, L98

Grus pentelici Gaudry 1862 [=Pliogrus pentelici; incl. G. afghana Mourer-Chauviré, Balouet et al. 1985]M02

Grus primigenia Milne-Edwards 1869 [incl. Sarcogeranus bohatshevi Serebrovskij 1940, G. leucogeranus bogatshevi (l. c.), Leucogeranus bohatschevi, G. melitensis Lydekker 1890]M02

Grus rubicunda (Perry 1810)BKB15, L98 [=Ardea rubicundaWS48; incl. Mathewsia rubicunda argentea Mathews 1912WS48]

*Palaeogrus princeps Portis 1884 [=Grus princeps, Ornitocnemis robustus Zigno in Portis 1884 (n. n.), Ornitocnemus robustus]M02

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1–281.

[BKB15] Burleigh, J. G., R. T. Kimball & E. L. Braun. 2015. Building the avian tree of life using a large-scale, sparse supermatrix. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 53–63.

[CC10] Checklist Committee (OSNZ). 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica 4th ed. Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Te Papa Press: Wellington.

[C01] Csiki, E. 1901. Utivázlat [Reiseskizze]. In: Horváth, G. (ed.) Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazása [Dritte Asiatische Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] vol. 2. Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazásának Állattani Eredményei [Zoologische Ergebnisse der Dritten Asiatischen Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] pp. xii–xli. Victor Hornyánszky: Budapest, and Karl W. Hierseman: Leipzig.

[FP64] Fisher, J., & R. T. Peterson. 1964. The World of Birds: A comprehensive guide to general ornithology. Macdonald: London.

[I92] Iwahashi, J. (ed.) 1992. Reddo Deeta Animaruzu: a pictorial of Japanese fauna facing extinction. JICC: Tokyo.

[J23] James, E. 1823. Account of an Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains, performed in the years 1819 and ’20, by order of the Hon. J. C. Calhoun, sec’y of war: under the command of Major Stephen H. Long. From the notes of Major Long, Mr. T. Say, and other gentlemen of the exploring party vol. 1. H. C. Carey & I. Lea: Philadelphia.

[K08] Kellogg, V. L. 1908. Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der Schwedischen Zoologischen Expedition nach dem Kilimandjaro, dem Meru und den Umgebenden Massaisteppen Deutsch-Ostafrikas 1905–1906 vol. 15. Corrodentia pt 4. Mallophaga. Almqvist & Wiksells Boktryckeri-A. B.: Uppsala.

[L98] Livezey, B. C. 1998. A phylogenetic analysis of the Gruiformes (Aves) based on morphological characters, with an emphasis on the rails (Rallidae). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B—Biological Sciences 353: 2077–2151.

[M01] Madarász, J. 1901. Madarak [Vögel]. In: Horváth, G. (ed.) Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazása [Dritte Asiatische Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] vol. 2. Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazásának Állattani Eredményei [Zoologische Ergebnisse der Dritten Asiatischen Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] pp. 21–39. Victor Hornyánszky: Budapest, and Karl W. Hierseman: Leipzig.

[M09] Mayr, G. 2009. Paleogene Fossil Birds. Springer.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

[RN72] Rutgers, A., & K. A. Norris (eds) 1972. Encyclopaedia of Aviculture vol. 1. London, Blandford Press.

[USDI77] USDI (United States Department of the Interior). 1977. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants—republication of list of species. Federal Register 42: 36420–36431.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M., & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1–126.

[WK96] Wood, T. C., & C. Krajewski. 1996. Mitochondrial DNA sequence variation among the subspecies of sarus crane (Grus antigone). Auk 113: 655–663.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *