The crane is a bird that is about as big as a stork. It also strides along just as elegantly, which is why they are both also called striding birds. Cranes live in northern Europe, for example in the north of eastern Germany, in Poland and in Scandinavia. They spend the winter in Spain or on the north coast of Africa. Other crane species also live in Africa, Asia and North America.
The crane has red or orange eyes. On the top of the head you can see a red spot called the "head plate". This is just skin, no feathers grow there. The crane has a black and white stripe on its neck, a grey body, long legs and bushy feathers at the back.
The crane grows up to 120 centimetres tall and can weigh up to six kilograms. A special feature is its large wingspan: from one tip to the other it is over two metres. Its cry is very loud and sounds like a trumpet.
Cranes live in wetlands with shallow, open water, such as marshes and swamps. These birds rest in open meadows and fields. This is also where they look for their food, and they are omnivores: they eat small animals, such as insects, earthworms and frogs, but also plants, such as potatoes, beans, peas, berries, cereals and many more.
Cranes can lay eggs from the age of five or six, and only once a year. Usually there are one to three eggs. The incubation period lasts pretty much exactly one month. The crane chicks leave the nest after only one day. Then, however, they cannot fly yet, but walk away from the nest with their parents. The parents then help them to find food.