Tuesday, 24 February 2015

192. Demoiselle Crane (Anthropoides virgo)

Demoiselle Cranes are nearly as large as Common Cranes and in flight the two can look very similar. However Demoiselle Cranes have black extending down to their breast (only on the neck in Common Cranes), less contrast between their grey primary-coverts and black primaries, and don't have white 'landing light' patches on their forewings as Common Cranes do. On the ground Demoiselles' long, pointed, neat tertials are the most obvious difference, making them look as though they have a long graceful tail - Common Cranes' are bushy and dishevelled. Demoiselle Cranes also have a grey back during the breeding season, whereas at this time Common Cranes' backs are brown due to staining with grubby bog water during incubation of their eggs! This is indicative of their differing preferred habitats - Demoiselle Cranes breed in slightly drier conditions, such as steppes and meadows, close to wetter areas - marshes, swamps, shallow lakes, streams - for foraging. They are migratory, breeding in a broad band stretching from Ukraine and Turkey in the west across to northern China in the east. They winter in parts of India and central-eastern Africa.

Demoiselle Crane, ©Chris Shervey via Flickr Creative Commons.
Demoiselle Crane painting.

Went for a quicker portrait today after my ambitious Common Crane efforts.

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