2017 Winter Wildlife Tour of Japan | Dancing Red-Crowned Cranes

Mar 16 | Evan | No Comments |

Photographing the the Japanese red-crowned crane in flight was interesting but after a short time with the cranes in Kushiro, I really was enjoying their dance moves more than their flight patterns!  There are a few different locations to photograph the red-crowned Japanese crane that having feeding times and it seemed the cranes were most active after getting a nice meal.  Sometimes the cranes seemed to be practicing by themselves or would pick up a leaf and throw it in the air as perhaps a game.     


Like the monkeys in Jigokudani, the red-crowned cranes were quite interesting to observe. In this series, it looks like the cranes are performing some kind of martial arts choreographed scene from a movie!  No matter what the moves are, the red-crowned cranes were very playful and graceful.  

According to the International Crane Foundation, their are only around 1700 – 2000 red-crowned cranes remaining and despite a few feeding grounds, their population is decreasing with the main threat because of their habitat shrinking.  The red-crowned cranes that do live in Hokkaido do not migrate and seemed to have picked up some Japanese characteristics.  Whether the cranes are dancing or play fighting, they are Japanese after all as they bow quite a bit!

In collaboration with Magic Is Photo Safaris, I escorted a small group of wildlife photographers for a Winter Wildlife Tour of Japan in search of Japanese Snow Monkeys, Red Crowned Crane, Swan, Steller’s Sea Eagles and whatever else we could find!  To see more photos from our photo safari in Japan, view the 2017 Winter Wildlife Tour of Japan Trip Report.

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