The Black-necked Cranes

The Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) is the last species to be discovered among the 15 species of cranes in the world. It is endemic to the Tibetan Plateau and migrates to lower altitudes, including several areas of Bhutan, in autumn. Phobjikha Valley is one of the largest habitats in Bhutan. Black-necked Cranes have a sacred identity in

Bhutanese culture and often appear in folklore and arts. The local people refer to the cranes as Thrung Thrung.

Since 1987, RSPN has been working to protect and rebuild the population of the Black-necked Cranes.

The local people and the Thrung Thrung

The Black-necked Cranes are revered as heavenly birds describing them as gracious, beautiful and harmless. Village elders say that the arrival of the cranes every winter is considered a good omen and echo of their calls is a source of spiritual happiness to them. Their departure in the spring leaves the people with sadness. They believe and have observed that the arrival and departure of the cranes coincide with auspicious dates of the Bhutanese calendar. During departure, they circumambulate the Gangtey monastery as they soar high up in the sky and head north towards to their summer homes in Tibet.

Physical Description

This Black-necked Crane is a large bird measuring about 1.5 meters in height. It has a whitish-grey body, a black head with red crown patch, black upper neck and legs. The juveniles will have yellow brown feathers on the crown, a grey abdomen, greyish yellow back and black and white feathers alternate on the neck. Both sexes are similar.