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A sociogram for the cranes of the world

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The behavioral repertoire for the world's 15 species of cranes includes over 100 behavioral acts with clear social significance. Each species performs at least 60 discrete social postures, vocalizations, displays, and activities. Because all but a handful of the stereotyped social displays are common to all species, the presence or absence of social displays was useful only to a limited degree in comparing the relatedness of established crane taxonomic groups. However, the breadth of the repertoire for each species and for the family Gruidae tentatively places cranes at the apex of social complexity (at least for stereotyped displays) in the animal world. © 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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Behavioural Processes 43 (1998) 125151
A sociogram for the cranes of the world
David H. Ellis
a,
*, Scott R. Swengel
b
, George W. Archibald
b
, Cameron B. Kepler
c
a
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center,U.S.Geological Sur6ey,Biological Resources Di6ision,U.S.Department of the Interior,
HC
1
Box
4420
,
3722
Defiance Street,Oracle,AZ
85623
,USA
b
International Crane Foundation,E-
11376
Shady Lane Road,Baraboo,WS
53913
-
9778
,USA
c
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center,
400
Snapfinger Dr., Athens,GA
30605
,USA
Received 7 May 1997; received in revised form 11 December 1997; accepted 19 December 1997
Abstract
The behavioral repertoire for the world’s 15 species of cranes includes over 100 behavioral acts with clear social
significance. Each species performs at least 60 discrete social postures, vocalizations, displays, and activities. Because
all but a handful of the stereotyped social displays are common to all species, the presence or absence of social
displays was useful only to a limited degree in comparing the relatedness of established crane taxonomic groups.
However, the breadth of the repertoire for each species and for the family Gruidae tentatively places cranes at the
apex of social complexity (at least for stereotyped displays) in the animal world. © 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All
rights reserved.
Keywords
:
Crane; Gruidae; Social behavior
1. Introduction
This study is based on observations of captive
cranes of all species (Table 1), with supplemental
observations of all species in the wild. Previous
studies of the social repertoire of cranes include:
the classic ethogram of the red-crowned crane by
Masatomi and Kitagawa (1975), and Masatomi’s
(1983a) work detailing copulatory sequences in
Grus species of cranes. Archibald (1976a) used
social displays, especially the Unison-call (a form
of antiphonal duet) in an attempt to decipher
crane phylogeny. Katz (1979) employed some as-
pects of crane social behavior to quantify seasonal
changes in mated pairs of hooded cranes. Nesbitt
and Archibald (1981) described some agonistic
displays for sandhill cranes. Partial sociograms
are available for the following species: whooping
crane (Allen, 1952; Kepler, 1976), Siberian crane
(Poulsen, 1975; Sauey, 1976), Eurasian crane
(Poulsen, 1975), and sandhill crane (Voss,
1976a,b; Tacha, 1981).
* Corresponding author. E-mail: davidhellis@usgs.gov
0376-6357/98/$19.00 © 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
PII
S0376-6357(98)00008-4
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43 (1998) 125151
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Table 1
Current nomenclature of the world’s cranes
Scientific nameCommon name Species groupAbbreviation in Table 2
Black crowned crane Balearica pa6oninaB Cr Crowned crane group
Balearica regulorumG Cr Crowned crane groupGray crowned crane
Bugeranus carunculatusWattled crane Long-train groupWatt
Anthropoides paradiseaBlue Long-train groupBlue crane
Demoiselle crane Anthropoides 6irgoDem Long-train group
Grus leucogeranusSibe Siberian craneSiberian crane
Grus canadensisSandhill crane Sandhill craneSand
Grus 6ipioWh-N Bare-faced groupWhite-naped crane
Grus antigoneSarus crane Bare-faced groupSar
Grus rubicundaBrol Bare-faced groupBrolga
Grus grusEurasian crane Eugrus groupEura
Grus monachaHood Eugrus groupHooded crane
B-NkBlack-necked crane Grus nigricollis Eugrus group
Grus japonensisRed Eugrus groupRed-crowned crane
WhooWhooping crane Grus americana Eugrus group
A partial ethogram, including only the non-so-
cial behavior for the world’s cranes, has been
published (Ellis et al., 1991). This is the social
ethogram: it consists of two parts. First is the
sociogram (sensu Wilson, 1975), a description of
all social displays, together with higher level be-
havior sequences, here termed activities (e.g.
Dance or Attack). The second part is a tabulation
(Table 2) of the presence and importance of each
social ethon (a non-restrictive term for behavioral
acts as simple as a reflex or as complex as an
activity: sensu Ellis, 1979) for each species.
Social signals in many groups of animals are
difficult to recognize and disentangle. Many are
subtle, are graded in their effects and expressions,
and have a variety of effects on the recipient (see
Wilson, 1975:199). Also, different observers some-
times apply different criteria in naming and sepa-
rating displays, thereby making comparisons
between taxa very difficult (Nelson, 1978). The
large number of displays we describe for cranes,
in part, reflects the relative ease with which an
experienced observer can distinguish their rather
obvious social signals. Because our primary goal
was to name and characterize homologous dis-
plays in all species, we were forced to generalize
the description of some ethons to allow for varia-
tion between species. The result is that this paper
and Ellis et al. (1991) together provide a nearly
complete compendium for the behavioral reper-
toire of all species of cranes. However, our de-
scriptions are, for many ethons, too general to
represent an ethogram for any species. As such,
this paper supplies the structure for future etho-
grams for all species.
While we present all ethons that have a social
context, our primary focus is on social communi-
cation, which is defined as the transfer of informa-
tion (Hailman, 1977) often resulting in the overt
alteration of behavior of the recipient. We recog-
nize that some crane displays (e.g. Pre-Attack)
function interspecifically (Viess, 1981).
The reader should be aware that, while we have
attempted to report likely sign vehicles, effective
stimuli, or releasers (i.e. those aspects of each
signal that influence the response of the communi-
cant), it was beyond the scope of this paper to
perform the necessary experiments to do so thor-
oughly. In many agonistic encounters, brightly-
colored bare skin is prominently featured, but
whether this is the actual sign vehicle that releases
or retards aggression, or whether it acts in concert
with body position and motion or other features
of the display are unknown. The elucidation of
such releasers in cranes must await additional
research.
The family Gruidae (Table 1) is an ancient
group whose earliest known fossils are from
D.H.Ellis et al.
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Beha6ioural Processes
43 (1998) 125151
127
Eocene deposits ca 50000000 years old (Olsen,
1985). Cranes have body parts conspicuously
molded for use as visual and auditory signals over
long distances, and since they move slowly, rela-
tive to many other animals, the forms of their
displays can be readily perceived and analyzed.
Even so, many subtle signals (such as iris dilation)
have only recently come to light, and others may
as yet remain undiscovered.
Archibald (1976a) had previously used only a
single social display, the Unison-call, to distin-
guish species groups. The phylogeny resulting
from this approach has been largely confirmed by
recent molecular genetics studies (Dessauer et al.,
1992; Krajewski and Fetzner, 1994). Our ap-
proach was to look less intently at any one dis-
play, but to evaluate the whole spectrum of social
displays toward identifying species groups on the
basis of presence or absence of displays. Our
study benefitted from ample time (ca 30 years)
and a pooling of observations from numerous
students of crane behavior.
2. Methods
All 15 species of cranes have been held in
captivity at one or both of our institutions (Patux-
ent Wildlife Research Center, two species (includ-
ing four subspecies), 31 years; and International
Crane Foundation, 15 species, 28 years). The use
of captive animals has long been recognized as an
essential component of behavioral research
(Lorenz, 1935). Indeed, a continuum of research
opportunities exists between the field and the lab
(Lehner, 1979), and both are needed to allow
researchers to observe the minute details (from
captive animals) and proper context (from free
ranging animals) of animal social behavior (Men-
zel, 1969). Most of our observations were made
on captive birds held in relatively large outdoor
enclosures (many netted; with the result that occu-
pants of these were capable of flights up to 30 m)
designed to allow a full expression of social dis-
plays. Because some individual animals develop
abnormal behavior in captivity (Tinbergen, 1962),
all of our descriptions are based on observations
of more than one individual, and, whenever possi-
ble, have been augmented by work on wild cranes.
Where certain behavioral anomalies (such as fence
pacing or the development of homosexual pairs)
have appeared, pen or other modifications were
made to eliminate them (Kepler, 1976, 1978;
Viess, 1981). We feel confident that the social
displays described herein are typical of wild birds,
although we recognize that their frequency of
performance has been greatly altered by captivity.
We have greatly benefitted from the special
opportunities derived from living in close proxim-
ity to breeding pairs of all species, and especially
from working with hand-reared birds. Most hand-
reared birds respond toward approaching humans
as for intruding conspecifics or, in some instances,
as for an approaching mate. This situation en-
abled us to vary the stimulus situation (i.e. our
presence) to thereby determine the hierarchy of
social displays. At the approach of a human, tame
or imprinted birds first show alert behavior, then
low-intensity threat displays, then, if the human
continues to approach, they display more intently,
and may finally attack by lunging, stabbing, etc.
The result is that a decade of field observations,
especially for the less social species, may not yield
the number of observations of some of the more
intense social displays that can come from a single
stroll through our captive colonies. We also note
that many of the subtle features of crane social
behavior (e.g. Iris-expansion, Feather-tuft-erec-
tion) have gone undetected or unreported until
this study because they are inconspicuous except
when viewed from very near.
In the compendium that follows, we deal with
the form and context of social (auditory and
visual) displays in cranes. In describing each so-
cial ethon, we included orientation of body parts,
sounds, movements, feather positions, and even
subtle cues such as iris expansion or the degree of
bare skin coloration and expansion. We also men-
tion probable sign-vehicles (e.g. color or pattern)
that characterize the displays (Hailman, 1977).
We recognize that, in describing the behavior of
a species, it is often difficult to separate ethons at
the appropriate level. More specifically, it is im-
portant to recognize that some behavioral acts are
merely components of more complex displays.
For example, we noted that two species of cranes
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43 (1998) 125151
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Table 2
Social behavior of the world’s cranes
a
Ethon SibeB Cr Sand Wh-N Sar Brol Eura Hood B-Nk Red WhooG Cr Watt Blue Dem
I.Vocalizations
++++++A. Peep ++ ++ ++ +++
++++++ ++ ++ ++B. Food-begging +++
++ ++++++ + ++++++C. Nesting-call
++++++D. Contact-call ++ ++ ++ +++
++++++ ++ ++ +++E. Pre-flight-call P P
+P++++++ + +++PPPF. Flight-call
++++++ +G. Alarm-call ++ +++ +++
++++++ ++ ++ ++H. Guard-call +++
++ ++++++ + ++++++I. Unison-call
P+++++++++++++++++PPJ. Location-call +
++++++ ++ ++ ++K. Stress-call +++
++ ++++++ + ++++++L. Distress-call
++++++ +M. Moan +P++P???
++++++ ++ ++ ++N. Hiss +++
++ ++++++ + ++++++O. Pre-copulatory-call
P. Copulatory-call − −−+ + + + +− −−−
P− −−− − −+ −−Q. Thoracic-click
II.Agonistic displays
+ +++++++ + +++++A. Alert +
++− − −−− −++B. Iris-expansion
++++++ +− +C. Bare-skin-expansion +++++
++++++D. Bare-skin-present +++ ++ ++ ++ +++ +−−
+++sl ++ ++ ++ +++ ++++E. Feather-tuft-erection ++ ++
+−sl ++− − − +−F. Gular-expansion
+ + + ++ + +++ +G. Tertial-elevation + ++ +− −−−
++++++++sl sl? sl+ + slH. Head-rub ??+
++ ++++++++++++++++++I. Pre-strut
+vH ++ vH +Vh +v+v++ VH ++ VHJ. Strut
b
++ H+v++ Vh ++ Vh+v+v+v+v
sl + −−− + −++ −−++K. Head-flick ++
++ +++D+slD +slD +slD +slD ++D++D++D++D+DR+++L. Dorsal-preen
c
++++++ +M. Ventral-preen +++− +++
++++++ +P+P+PN. Wing-flick-flight +PP
++ +++ + + P+ + ++ ++ + +++ PPO. Bill-down-hold
P−++++P++ + P++PPP. Bill-down-growl
++ − + ?+?P ?+−−Q. Bill-down-sweep +
+−+++?+?? ? ? +?−−+R. Blow-bubbles
++++++ +S. Stab-nibble-tug ++ +++ +++
−−−− −+ −+ −−T. Head-lower-ruffle +++++
++ ++ +++ ++ ++ + + + + +−−U. Ruffle-bow
?+ −−−− − −−−++slV. Wing-spread-hold
+−++++ ++ −++ +−++W. Wing-spread-flap ++
++ −−−− − −−−+++++X. Tail-wag
++ ++++++ + ++++++Y. Stomp
P+P++P+P+Z. Leg-quiver ++++PP
D.H.Ellis et al.
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Beha6ioural Processes
43 (1998) 125151
129
Table 2
(Continued
)
SibeEthon SandB Cr Wh-N Sar Brol Eura Hood B-Nk Red WhooG Cr Watt Blue Dem
−−++sl +− −AA. Catapult −−− −−−
−−−+ ++− ++ −++BB. Butterfly
− − − +++ −−CC. Arch
+++ + +++ + +DD. Hoover or Neck-crane ++ ++ −−−
+++ ++ + + + ++ +++ ++ +++ +++++EE. Crouch
FF. Pre-attack ++ + + +++ + + + ++ +++
III.Attack and mob
++++++A. Run-flap ++ ++ ++ +++
++++++ ++ ++ ++B. Hiss +++
++ ++++++ + ++++++C. Gape
D. Bill-stab ++ + + +++ + + + ++ +++
++++++ ++ ++ ++E. Jump-rake ++ +
F. Wing-thrash ++ + + +++ + + + ++ +++
IV.Defensi6e and submissi6e displays and acti6ities
++++++A. Wing-flare-cower ++ ++ ++ +++
++++++ ++ ++ ++B. Cower +++
++ ++++++ + ++++++C. Cower-crouch
++ ++++++ + ++++++D. Distraction-display
?+??P+?+?? ??PE. Bunching P P
++ ++++++ + ++++++F. Flee
G. Pre-copulation +P+ + +++ + + + ++ +++
V.Concordant beha6ior
+++++++ ++ ++ +++A. Contact-call +
+ +++++++ + +++++B. Pre-flight
++++++ ++ ++ +++C. Pre-flight-call P P
+P++++++ + +++PPPD. Flight-call
++++++ + +E. Flight ++ ++ +++
?????? ? ?? ?+?+?F. Allopreen ?
VI.Pair related beha6ior
+ +++++++ + +++++A. Unison-walking +
+ +++++++ + +++++B. Unison-call +
++++++ ++ ++ +++C. Dance ++
++ ++++++ + ++++++1. Spread-hold
++ +++++PPPPP+++2. Gape
++++++ ++ +3. Gape-sweep ++++++
++++++ +4. Tuck-bob ++ +++ +++
++++++ ++ +P++5. Leap ++P
++ ++++++ + ++++++6. Object-toss
++++++ +7. Run-flap-glide +++− +++
++++++ +?++ ++8. Hoover or Neck-crane +
sl−++++++++++++−+sl9. Bill-stab
D. Pre-copulation ++ + + +++ + + + ++ +++
++++++ ++ ++ +++++E. Copulation-call
F. Copulation ++ + + +++ + + + ++ +++
VII.Nest preparation and maintenance beha6ior
+ +++++++ + +++++A. Sideways-toss +
++++++ ++ +B. Sweep-drop ++++++
D.H.Ellis et al.
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43 (1998) 125151
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Table 2
(Continued
)
Sibe Sand Wh-N Sar Brol Eura Hood B-Nk RedEthon WhooB Cr G Cr Watt Blue Dem
+?P++PP PP P ++PPC. Nest-probe P
P+P++ + + PP P P +P+PPD. Tread
VIII.Parental beha6ior
+++++++ ++ ++ ++++A. Oviposition
+ ++ +++ +++ + + + +++B. High-step +
++++++++ + ++++C. Waddle ++
++++++ ++ ++ +++D. Shuffle ++
++ ++++++ + ++++++E. Settle
++++++ +F. Bill-tuck ++ +++ +++
++++++ ++ ++ ++G. Incubation +++
++ ++++++ + ++++++H. Brooding
+++I. Shading +++ ++ + + + + ++ +++
P+++PP PP PP +PJ. Tread P +P
++++++ +K. Nesting-call ++ +++ +++
++++++ ++ +L. Present-morsel ++++++
M. Distraction-display ++ + + +++ + + + ++ +++
IX.Filial beha6ior
+++++++ ++ ++ ++++A. Peep
+ +++++++ + +++++B. Contact-call +
++++++++ + +++C. Food-begging +++
++++++ ++ ++ +++D. Wing-quiver ++
++ ++++++ + ++++++E. Accept-morsel
+++F. Stress-call ++ ++ + + + ++ +++
++++++ ++ ++ ++G. Distress-call +++
a
Key to cell codes: ?, It is unknown if this species performs this ethon and knowledge insufficient to conjecture; +, this species performs this ethon; , this species does not perform this
ethon; ++, this species performs this ethon to a great degree; +++, this species performs this ethon to a greater degree than other species; P, this species probably performs this ethon;
sl, slightly, species performs an ethon that suggests this ethon.
b
Strut variations: V=vertical Strut is normal form (v =occasional form), performed with body axis raised \20° above horizon. H =horizontal Strut is normal form (h =occasional form),
performed with body axis horizontal or B20° above horizon.
c
D=Drop (wing lowered during performance); R=rarely seen (e.g. DR =wing drop rare for this species).
D.H.Ellis et al.
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43 (1998) 125151
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conspicuously flare the feathers of the thigh when
Strutting. Because Thigh-feather-flare was never
noted outside the context of some more complex
display, we do not include it here as a separate
display. More difficult to decide if appropriate to
separate were Iris-expansion and Feather-tuft-
erection. Although both appear as separate dis-
plays, we are nonetheless somewhat uneasy in
presenting them separately because each is also a
component of more complex displays. When seen
alone, they may merely be the precursors of, or
evidence of, an inclination to perform a more
complex display.
We have somewhat arbitrarily divided the so-
cial repertoire into nine general categories (Sec-
tion 3.1 Section 3.9). The first to be presented is
the vocal (or auditory) repertoire (Section 3.1),
which is also presented again by weaving the calls
into the functional classes of the visual displays
(Section 3.2 Section 3.9). Unfortunately, there is
overlap between categories even for visual dis-
plays because some ethons appear in several con-
texts. For example, elements of Attack (Section
3.3) appear also in the Dance (Section 3.6C) and
are discussed in both contexts. Similarly, the
Growl that is part of the Bill-down-growl threat
display seems identical to the Nesting-call of a
parent crane calling to its hatching chick, so it is
treated in both places.
While our emphasis in this paper is on ethon
titles and general descriptions, we provide some
information on behavioral sequences (e.g. the or-
der of appearance of ethons within a typical
Dance bout). Our nomenclature generally em-
ploys the use of dashes to link descriptive words
(e.g. Jump-rake). Because a one word title is
sometimes sufficient (e.g. Alert), we capitalize the
first letter in each ethon title to alert the reader
that we are writing restrictively about, for exam-
ple, the Alert social display. When speaking non-
restrictively about, for example, an attack by a
predator, the word ‘attack’ is not capitalized
whereas when a crane employs elements of At-
tack, the word is capitalized. When referring to
non-social ethons described by Ellis et al. (1991),
we also capitalize the first word in each ethon
title.
Although we attempted to apply descriptive
titles to all visual displays, most vocalizations are
not easily described (an exception is the Thoracic-
click), so each is titled by context (e.g. Pre-flight-
call). To save space, we used acronyms in the
paragraph where a particular ethon is described,
but for clarity, only there. For example, in its
descriptive paragraph, Gular-expansion is referred
to as G-e, but elsewhere, all references to Gular-
expansion are spelled out.
The primary method of accumulating data for
this report was to make careful observations and
still photographs while rearing and caring for
captive cranes. Immediately after observing rarely
performed ethons, we also took detailed notes of
the form and context. Super-8 movie films were
exposed and notes were taken on behavioral se-
quences. The films were viewed and tracings were
made of selected frames. These tracings and still
photographs were then abstracted into the illus-
trations that accompany the text. After years of
familiarizing ourselves with crane social behavior,
in 1988 we joined forces to identify and name
each ethon and to prepare behavior categories.
We subsequently observed even more carefully in
an attempt to identify new ethons and new perfor-
mance contexts. During the subsequent ten years,
we also attempted to verify each cell in the spe-
cies-ethon contingency table (Table 2). For exam-
ple, Iris-expansion, a very subtle feature first
noted in the Siberian crane, was found in other
species only after careful scrutiny of many captive
pairs.
3. The sociogram
Social ethons are presented below in text out-
line form that matches the compressed outline in
Table 2. The table also provides data on which
species perform each ethon and to what degree.
For some cells within the table, further study will
confirm or dispute our assessment of the impor-
tance of that ethon for a particular species. The
order of presentation is roughly by age (young to
old), by volume (quiet to loud), and by order of
appearance in behavioral sequences (early to late).
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43 (1998) 125151
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3.1.
Vocalizations
In ethology, titles for ethons are typically ‘de-
scriptive’, but for vocalizations, ‘functional’ titles
(providing primary context) are often more useful
(Grier, 1984). Much intergradation exists between
calls with the result that the range of vocalizations
appears as a continuum with identifiable peaks,
each of which is given a title. Because various
species perform the calls very differently, some
calls classed together here (by context of perfor-
mance) may not be true homologs (similar in
origin).
Below, we arbitrarily present vocalizations sep-
arate from the other social ethon classes. How-
ever, we recognize that calls are most often given
as components of complex social displays. Where
a call is the major or only component of a social
display, the call is presented a second time in the
appropriate place in the outline in Table 2. The
scope of this work precludes presenting sono-
grams for each call for each species. Nevertheless,
we recognize that in ethograms for each species
sonographic analysis will be required.
A. Peep (Voss, 1977; pip call). A quiet, brief
whistle grading into an even briefer chirp or ex-
tended into a purr. Beginning 2-3 days before
hatching and grading into the Contact-call which
continues throughout life.
B. Food-begging (Archibald, 1976a; Food-beg-
ging-call). A rapid series of brief chirps in the
chick grading into a single, hoarse, prolonged
chirp in fledglings. At least for tiny chicks, this
call intergrades with the Peep and Contact-call.
C. Nesting-call (Archibald, 1976a; N-c). A quiet
purr or growl given at a rate of about one to two
calls/s) is normally given in long series. Quieter
and less rigidly cadent than the Copulatory-call.
This call is given by adults while nest building,
while inspecting nest contents (eggs, chicks, or
even an empty nest), and while Brooding or Feed-
ing chicks. During a complete performance, the
bill is pointed downward and the bill tip is held
very near the chick or substrate. In the whooping
crane, an identical call is performed during the
Bill-down-growl social display. For the Siberian
crane, the Nesting-call sounds closer to the Stress-
call. For some species (i.e. red-crowned, hooded,
Eurasian, and sandhill), the female is much more
prone to give this call than the male.
D. Contact-call (Masatomi and Kitagawa,
1975; Alert-call; Archibald, 1976a; C-c). Cranes
quietly communicate while foraging and during
other maintenance activities using this call, which
may actually be two or more similar calls that
intergrade with the quieter Peep and louder Pre-
flight-call. In adults, this call is a quiet, brief,
hoarse gargle usually given at intervals of several
seconds. The exception is the adult Siberian crane,
in which the C-c is one continuous horn-like note
also given at intervals of several seconds.
E. Pre-flight-call (Archibald, 1976a; Flight-in-
tention-call). A brief hoarse gargle observed in all
species but the crowned cranes. Like the Contact-
call, but louder, honk-like, and usually given in
long series with about one call per second. Very
often seen in birds preparing to fly.
A second call, performed by red-crowned and
hooded cranes, is given in the same context as the
P-f-c, but only during the mating season and
almost always by a female. It is also given at
intervals like the P-f-c and sounds like a nasal or
hoarse version of the P-f-c, but is believed to be
distinct.
F. Flight-call (Nesbitt and Bradley, 1988 un-
publ., F-c). A loud call given at short intervals by
cranes aloft. For some or most species (but not
the Eurasian crane), the F-c is like a truncated
Guard-c.
G. Alarm-call (Archibald, 1976a; A-c). This call
is evident in all species of cranes. It is a brief,
loud, low-frequency blast (higher pitched in the
Siberian crane) given alone or in bouts with indi-
vidual calls separated by intervals of several sec-
onds. Each call is composed of a series of hoarse
subnotes that are given so rapidly that they are
nearly inseparable to the human ear. In the sand-
hill crane and perhaps all other species, the A-c
sounds identical to the first call of a Guard-call
series. The common context for all species is the
detection of a distant predator or another threat.
H. Guard-call (Archibald, 1976a; G-c). In the
sandhill crane and all other species, pairs and
flock mates respond to the approach of intruding
conspecifics and some other disturbances by per-
forming loud, guttural squawks (often in series).
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43 (1998) 125151
133
In a flock, many birds may be calling at once, but
in pairs, the male and female alternate calls in
true antiphonal fashion. It is typically performed
in series and somewhat like the Unison-call except
in the G-c the male and female calls are tempo-
rally much alike although the female is higher
pitched.
G-cs are often given in series with an interval of
one to several seconds between calls. The sandhill
crane G-c largely replaces (i.e. may be equivalent
to) the whooping crane Alarm-call. Crowned
cranes give rather loud, honk-like G-cs. For the
black crowned crane, G-c is a simple ‘boom’ while
in the gray crowned crane, it is a disyllabic ‘ka-
wonk’. For the Siberian crane, it is a single,
unbroken, high-pitched, short call.
I and J. Unison-call (Walkinshaw, 1949; U-c;
Armstrong, 1963 (in Masatomi and Kitagawa,
1975), antiphonal song). All cranes perform an-
tiphonal duets (Archibald, 1976a) which are sexu-
ally dimorphic in all species except the crowned
cranes. U-cs have been effectively used to deter-
mine sex in paired birds (Kepler, 1978) and have
been employed to determine phylogeny
(Archibald, 1976b). Although much variation ex-
ists between species, in general, both birds call
standing side by side with necks upright and,
when highly aggressive, standing on tip toes to
increase height. For Anthropoides and Bugeranus,
each duet lasts 5 7 s, with one male call emitted
for each female call. Demoiselle cranes keep their
wings folded throughout the duet, but the female
elevates her bill to almost or beyond the vertical,
while the male calls with bill slightly above the
horizontal. Blue and wattled males elevate their
humeri briefly at the end of the duet. Siberian
cranes also emit one male call per one female call,
but the duet can continue for several minutes.
Mates call alternately, the male lower pitched
than the female, resulting in a duet resembling a
European police siren. All other Grus species also
have duets of indeterminate length; however, for
each male call the female usually emits 2 3
shorter and higher calls. For some species and
sexes (i.e. sandhill (both sexes), sarus, brolga and
white-naped (only females)), the wings are closed
throughout the duet. The female always begins
the duet in sarus, brolga and white-naped cranes,
and the male always elevates his wings and drops
the primaries (Fig. 1) in turkey-strut (Meleagris
gallopa6o) fashion. The Siberian, whooping, red-
crowned, black-necked, Eurasian, and hooded
cranes sometimes walk slowly while duetting and
the wings of both sexes may be elevated with
primaries lowered. During low intensity displays,
birds duet without elevating their wings.
Crowned cranes perform a long series of syn-
chronized Guards-calls and a gular Boom (gray
crowned cranes) or Honk (black crowned cranes)
in place of the U-c. The head is held down with
the bill drawn against the neck. As a Boom (or
Honk) is given, the bill is swept quickly to the
side. Members of a pair give alternate Booms or
Honks in series that sometimes last several min-
utes. Remarkably, the Boom serves a Guard-call
function in the black crowned crane and as a U-c
in the gray crowned crane.
J. Location-call (Archibald, 1976a; L-c). A very
loud trumpet-like blast. If performed in a bout, at
least several seconds of silence follow each call.
When widely separated across a marsh, pair mem-
Fig. 1. Unison-call, white-naped crane (male is at left).
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bers L-c in an apparent effort to determine mate
location. To the human ear, the L-c is very like,
although more drawn out than, the first note of a
Unison-call.
K. Stress-call (Archibald, 1976a; S-c). The
plaintive prolonged nasal chirp of a chick that
grades into a loud wailing in the adult. Seen in
context of prolonged hunger, thermal stress, or
threat of capture.
L. Distress-call. Probably the full expression of
the Stress-call, but in the adult whooping crane
(and all but the crowned cranes), D-c is a long,
multi-note, grating scream given in series during
capture and handling. Crowned cranes in distress
emit a prolonged honk given in extended series.
M. Moan. An energetic moan is emitted by
some cranes during the most intense portion of
the Ruffle-bow social display (e.g. sandhill,
Siberian, sarus, brolga, and white-naped cranes).
In the Red-crowned, it is given in transition from
Crouch to Ruffle-bow. The sound is either a nasal
buzzing or, more likely, a syringeal vocalization.
It is performed with the bill closed. The Moan is
so inconspicuous as to escape detection in the
wild. Even in captivity, it can only be heard from,
at most, a few meters.
N. Hiss. A loud hissing, emitted with bill closed
or agape, is evident during the Pre-attack display
and during an actual Attack. Probably performed
by all species.
O and P. Precopulatory-call and Copulatory-
call (Archibald, 1976a; P-c). Much like the Nest-
ing-call, the P-c begins as a Contact-call, then
becomes regular and louder growl. For five spe-
cies, (i.e. Eurasian, hooded, whooping, black-
necked, and red-crowned cranes), the P-c grades
into a loud scream, the C-c. For all other species,
the P-c is also the call given during actual
copulation.
The P-c is performed in long series in which one
to two calls are given per second. Sometimes a
series will continue for 10 min without interrup-
tion until Copulation is complete. While giving
the P-c, the bill is directed skyward and the bird
advances in a slow rhythmic gait (very often with
its mate in tow) as described for the Precopula-
tory-display (Section 3.6, D and E). The P-c is a
soft purr in the crowned crane.
Q. Thoracic-click. This noise, evident only in
wattled (and perhaps sandhill) cranes, is given for
a short period following capture. It appears as a
quiet, but conspicuous thump or throb. On first
hearing, it sounds like a loud heart beat, but it is
given at about one second intervals (i.e. cadence
too slow for heart beat). From careful inspection,
we believe its origin is thoracic rather than buccal,
nasal, or syringeal, with the result that it is most
likely merely a pneumatic sound rather than a
vocalization with social significance.
3.2.
Agonistic displays
Cranes use at least 32 agonistic displays not
including vocalizations.
A. Alert (Masatomi and Kitagawa, 1975; A).
When a crane becomes aware of a distant intrud-
ing conspecific, a predator, or some other alarm-
ing stimulus, it adopts a characteristic posture
with its head extended maximally up and some-
what forward while watching the stimulus. Typi-
cally the bird remains still, briefly. All species
exhibit the A posture, but mated males typically
elevate the head higher while females extend the
neck more forward. The dominant bird (also nor-
mally a male) in a group will normally stand taller
(i.e. show more A behavior) and have a more
expanded red cap, face or wattles than subordi-
nate birds. Adult males assume a greater role in
watching for threats to the pair or family than do
the females (e.g. Tacha, 1988:16). While A cer-
tainly carries a behavioral message to other
cranes, it may also merely be the most efficient
means of surveying the environs.
B. Iris-expansion. Captive male Siberian and
wattled cranes clearly exhibit this behavior. It is
also somewhat evident in whooping cranes. Typi-
cal context is a defensive male approaching a
territorial violator. In such encounters, the female
typically remains in the background and shows I-e
to a lesser degree if at all.
C. Bare-skin-expansion and Bare-skin-contrac-
tion. Except for the two species that lack bare
patches or wattles, cranes during display expand
their unfeathered areas to show dominance or
aggressiveness and contract them when ill or
subordinate.
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In the whooping crane, both the red papillose
crown and the red-black mustache strip are ex-
tended (Fig. 2). Although these areas are con-
cealed by feathers in juvenile birds, they are
nonetheless expanded during display.
D. Bare-skin-present. When an intruder is far
off, a dominant or territorial bird may Bare-skin-
expand or stand Alert, but do nothing else to
threaten. As the intruder approaches, for the spe-
cies with red caps, the displaying bird will turn its
bill away from the intruder and thereby maximize
the red surface area presented, all the while using
its peripheral vision to maintain visual contact
with the intruder. Periodically, the displayer inter-
rupts its performance of B-s-p to look directly at
the intruder for a second or two, then resumes its
rather odd stance of looking down and away from
the object of its display. Only those species (13)
which have bare skin areas present them.
E. Feather-tuft-erection,Head-fluff, and Head-
sleek. The two species that lack specialized bare
skin areas compensate by displaying special feath-
ered areas on the head or neck. The demoiselle
crane erects its white, post orbital plume. The
blue crane flares (H-f) its cobra-like nuchal hood.
Context of performance is as for Bare-skin-expan-
sion and Bare-skin-present. The converse of H-f
(and F-t-e) is H-s.
Most of the cranes that expand bare skin areas
also erect small feather tufts. For some species,
the movement of these tufts is inconspicuous even
in captivity. For the black-necked crane, the
Fig. 3. Tertial-elevation and Strut, Eurasian crane.
flaring of feathers of the auricular area is more
conspicuous than for any other species. The phy-
logenetically aberrant crowned cranes conspicu-
ously flare their crowns in threat contexts, but
also perform a normal variation of the F-t-e.
F. Gular-expansion. Three of the five species
that inconspicuously or never exhibit Feather-
tuft-erection do perform G-e in contexts like that
for Feather-tuft-erection and Bare-skin-expan-
sion. Most apparent in the closely related sarus
and brolga cranes, this display consists merely of
expanding the pharynx while facing an intruder.
G. Tertial-ele6ation (Masatomi and Kitagawa,
1975; Adornment). Not performed by the
crowned cranes or the three long-train species, T-e
is evident in all other species (Table 2) and most
pronounced in the Eurasian crane (Fig. 3) for
which the tertiaries are raised past perpendicular
with the plane of the back. T-e appears as a
separate display and as a component of more
elaborate displays, especially Strut and Unison-
call. When so displaying, the crane most often
turns so its lateral aspect is visible to the intruder.
Fig. 2. Bare-skin-expansion, whooping crane.
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H. Head-rub. The crown and side of the head
are rapidly rubbed on the back or wing. Most
often performed in company with ritualized
preening, this display appears as a displacement
activity in moderately intense agonistic encoun-
ters. Commonly seen in three species (Table 2),
H-r is also occasionally performed by at least nine
other species including both crowned cranes. H-r
is performed more often by females. By context,
H-r seems to indicate some ambivalence between
approaching and avoiding an intruder.
I. Pre-strut (Masatomi and Kitagawa, 1975;
adornment). This static display is seen in all
fifteen species. It is a modification of Alert pos-
ture with the added components of Bare-skin-ex-
pansion, tertiary-elevation, and elevation of thigh
feathers (some species only). It sometimes includes
a lifting component wherein the bird stands on its
toes with the foot pad off of the substrate. As for
Alert, this display is primarily performed by terri-
torial males. P-s is at approximately the same
level of intensity as, and is often followed by,
Guard-calling or Unison-calling.
J. Strut (Masatomi and Kitagawa, 1975; adorn-
ment-walk). Performed by all species, this display
(Fig. 3) is a specialized walk wherein the crane
turns sideways to present its lateral aspect to the
recipient and walks in slow, measured steps. Be-
tween steps, each foot is lifted high and toe exten-
sion is exaggerated. Bare-skin-present is
conspicuous in the sandhill crane, and tertiary
elevation is especially evident in the Eurasian
crane. Two general forms are evident: either the
axis of the body is nearly horizontal or much
more vertical (Fig. 3). Table 2 indicates which
form is most often seen in each species. Other
components evident in extreme performances in-
clude a lateral flaring of the thigh and tibio-tarsi
feathers (especially in whooping and black-necked
cranes) and occasionally dropping of the pri-
maries (whooping crane).
K. Head-flick (Masatomi and Kitagawa, 1975;
irrelevant-head-shake). Five or six species (Table
2) show a quick, but conspicuous, sideward toss-
ing of the bill in display context. In the blue
crane, a bill-clacking or bill-rattle component is
also present. In the related wattled crane, a rat-
tling sound is also made, but by the wattles
Fig. 4. Dorsal-preen, whooping crane.
slapping against the head rather than by a click-
ing of the bill. In these two species, it is frequently
performed as part of Head-lower-ruffle, discussed
later.
L. Dorsal-preen (Masatomi and Kitagawa,
1975; Irrelevant-back-preen; Voss, 1977; Preen
Display). Ritualized preening is probably the
most frequently performed non-static, social dis-
play. The back, tertiaries, or scapulars are the
primary sites of bill contact (Fig. 4). Several com-
ponents of the display suggest that other than
normal preening is involved: first, the D-p is
consistently performed at the same, rather small
location; second, the preening components are
abbreviated and interrupted (sometimes resulting
in the bird merely contacting the spot with its bill
for several seconds without nibbling the feathers);
third, after a few seconds with the bill on back,
the bird very often lifts its head to observe the
recipient, then returns to preen or point at the
same spot; fourth, a consistent wing-drop compo-
nent (Fig. 4) often accompanies D-p especially in
the Siberian crane, but also in nine other species;
and finally, D-p is also very often part of a
display sequence beginning with Alert, then Pre-
strut. An interesting D-p component especially
evident in the Siberian crane is Iris-expansion
maximizing display of the yellow iris.
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formed by the remaining two species (Table 2).
Performance of B-d-h consists of lowering the
head until the bill touches or nearly touches the
ground and holding this posture. For the crowned
cranes, B-d-h is the complete display. All other
species probably (five species) or surely (eight
species) add a growl component that sounds like
the Nesting-call. Sometimes a Siberian crane will
B-d-g while turning slowly, occasionally making a
complete circle. Usually one mate performs these
displays at the approach of an intruder. These
displays are especially pronounced in the Siberian
crane, a species which also adds a component
(B-d-s) in which the neck sways side-to-side caus-
ing the bill to sweep left and right in an arc ca 50
cm in length.
We propose three possible origins of these dis-
plays. First, the Bill-down component, from a
distance, looks like a standing adult attending a
chick. Next, the growl is similar to or equivalent
to the Nesting-call, and in some performances, the
adult nibbles at twigs in a manner suggesting nest
building especially when coupled with the sweep
component of the Siberian crane. These displays
appear then to be ritualized chick care and/or
ritualized nest building. Either could convey to
the recipient that the displaying crane has a deep
commitment to the site and probably could be
expelled only with difficulty. Alternately, this be-
havior may be ritualized foraging as suggested by
Voss (1977).
R. Blow-bubbles. In the Siberian crane and a
few other species (Table 2), a threatened crane
may perform what appears to be Bill-down-growl
while standing in water. For Siberian cranes, the
bill is flicked side-to-side, as if stirring the water,
with the result that the display appears to be
ritualized feeding. Alternately, B-b is merely an
aquatic performance of Bill-down-growl or Bill-
down-sweep.
S. Stab-nibble-tug (Masatomi and Kitagawa,
1975; irrelevant-ground-stick; Voss, 1977; Forag-
ing Display). This display, common to all species,
is often closely linked with Bill-down-hold, Bill-
down-growl, Bill-down-sweep and Crouch (Sec-
tion 3.2, EE). During most performances, a crane,
while being approached by an intruder, nervously
Stabs at the ground and/or Nibbles and/or Tugs
M. Ventral-preen (Masatomi and Kitagawa,
1975; Irrelevant-leg-preen). As for Dorsal-preen,
all species but the crowned cranes perform this.
Normally in V-p, the crane preens and/or contacts
a small area at the junction of the belly, thigh,
and proximal tibio-tarsus. A peculiar neck exten-
sion component identifies this as a display. V-p is
very often the final component of the Hoover and
Ruffle-bow displays discussed later.
N. Wing-flick-flight. This display grades
smoothly into normal flapping flight and can be
differentiated only when extreme. When display-
ing, the wing stroke is shallower, the glide be-
tween strokes longer, and the upward flick for the
next stroke is more rapid. Although it has been
observed in ten species, all species of cranes prob-
ably use this display. Cranes W-f-f when pa-
trolling territorial boundaries, when pursuing
intruders, and during courtship.
O, P and Q. Bill-down-hold,Bill-down-growl
and Bill-down-sweep (Voss, 1977; Foraging Dis-
play). At least two of these displays have not
previously been described. However, Poulsen
(1975) may have entitled one of them Bill-to-
ground. Some form of these displays (Fig. 5) is
surely performed by 13 species and probably per-
Fig. 5. Bill-down-growl, whooping crane.
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at vegetation (at least three separate foraging
action patterns (Ellis et al., 1991) are involved).
Some performances suggest ritualized nest build-
ing, but most performances appear as true dis-
placement activities that have not been ritualized.
Although this is an aggressive display, the context
shows a strong fear component as well.
T. Head-lower-ruffle. This display is found only
in two crane groups, the crowned cranes plus the
Long-train Group (the three species in Table 1
that have long trailing tertials). It is a homolog of
the Ruffle-bow discussed next. In a typical perfor-
mance, the head is dipped forward and rapidly
shaken. Most often performed while walking.
U. Ruffle-bow (Masatomi and Kitagawa, 1975;
wing-shake-bow; Voss, 1977; Body-wing-shake
Display). As stated above, R-b replaces the Head-
lower-ruffle of five species. R-b (Figs. 6 and 7) is
performed by the bird presenting one side toward
the intruder/recipient, then commencing what ap-
pears to be a maintenance Ruffle-shake (Ellis et
al., 1991). First, the feathers are elevated, then the
body begins gyrating side-to-side as the wings lift
slightly then slap closed, in left and right cycles of
increasing crescendo and vigor until the body of
the bird whirs back and forth in a flurry of
shaking. Two versions of Ruffle-bow are known.
Fig. 7. Ruffle-bow-up, whooping crane.
For the species that show R-b-down (Fig. 6, e.g.
sandhill crane and four other species), when the
gyrations reach a peak, the head is thrown for-
ward and down with the bill pointed rearward,
the bird rises onto its toes and a quiet Moan, ca 2
s in duration, is emitted. Gyration then ceases and
most often (for the sandhill crane), the bill con-
tacts the feathers of the leg and the crane Ventral-
preens. For R-b-up (Fig. 7), the head is extended
up and forward and the bill is tucked neck-ward
and held for a second or two as shaking frequency
reaches a zenith.
The Moan component, known for ten species,
is nasal in quality and emitted with the bill closed.
V. Wing-spread-hold. The wings are lifted high
and wide and held spread for :1 5 s. Only the
two crowned and the wattled cranes perform this
display. It appears as a homology to the display
described next. Evidence for the homology is a
slight lowering of the head hinting at the sweep
component of the next display.
W. Wing-spread-flap. Most of the world’s
cranes perform some form of this homolog of the
crowned crane’s Wing-spread-hold (Table 2). The
wings are spread wide and high, then are rapidly
Fig. 6. Ruffle-down-down, sandhill crane.
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swept in a wide arc forward and down, producing
an audible whoosh. This is a common display of
the white-naped and Siberian cranes. For six spe-
cies, as the wings flap, the head and neck sweep
through a wide arc forward so that they lie under
the forward extending wings. In the blue crane,
the head and neck feathers flare (Head-fluff) as
the head sweeps forward.
X. Tail-wag. T-w is the quick side to side tail
movements performed in brief bouts of five to ten
cycles each. This inconspicuous display is found
only in the three species with the longest trailing
tertiaries (wattled, blue and demoiselle) and the
crowned cranes. A performance is seen in a dis-
play sequence with the ritualized preening that
follows Wing-spread-flap or Stomp (below). T-w
is seen as a movement of the tertiaries trailing
above the tail, or the tail may be seen below the
tertiaries, elevated for some other display.
Y. Stomp (Masatomi and Kitagawa, 1975;
stamp). All species Stomp their feet in an audible
left-right sequence that lasts :1 –2 seconds and
increases in crescendo until it becomes a blur of
foot movement. The legs are held nearly straight
throughout so the foot movement is slight. S is
always seen as part of a display sequence. It is
typically followed by Leg-quiver discussed next.
Z. Leg-qui6er. This element of some agonistic
displays is subtle, but readily visible from close
range. We hypothesize its presence in all species,
but the movement is slight enough that it must be
sought to be noticed. The displaying bird stands
Alert with its straightened legs moving in a high
frequency, low amplitude shiver. As for the pre-
ceding, L-q is an element in a series. A typical
sequence for the whooping crane is Ruffle-bow,
Stomp, L-q, Hoover.
AA. Catapult. All elements of this display are
performed only by the white-naped crane, but
incomplete performances are also seen in the
sarus and brolga cranes. The C is perhaps merely
an elaboration on the Wing-spread-flap display
(Section 3.2, W). In both, the wings are spread,
held high, then flapped deeply as the head and
neck are thrust forward and down. The C em-
ploys the added element that the neck is then
catapulted rapidly upward and arched far over
the back, held ca 1 s, then typically lowered
forward as the bird commences Ventral-preen.
Fig. 8. Butterfly, whooping crane.
BB. Butterfly. The whooping crane’s equivalent
to the Arch, the B (Fig. 8) includes lifting of the
three-quarters open wing high and back and then
straining or ‘holding the pose’. Unlike the Arch
(next), the bill is pointed forward and down. Both
Arch and B have elements of and appear as
precursors to the Hoover (Section 3.2, DD).
CC. Arch (Masatomi and Kitagawa, 1975;
Arch). A (Fig. 9) is probably the red-crowned
crane’s homolog to the Catapult (White-naped
Group, Table 2) and the Butterfly (whooping
crane). The high-intensity A usually follows sev-
eral other, less intense, displays (e.g. Dorsal-
preen) and signals near extreme agonistic
tendency. Performed by arching the neck over the
back with the bill pointed :80° above horizon-
tal. Simultaneously, the wings are lifted (while
remaining partially folded) maximally above the
back. The bird holds the pose one or more sec-
onds, then lowers wings and returns bill to
horizontal.
DD. Hoo6er or Neck-crane (Masatomi and Ki-
tagawa, 1975; Low-bow and High-bow; Poulsen,
1975; bill to ground (but see also Section 3.2, P)).
H (Fig. 10) involves two general forms of neck
posturing, both are reminiscent of the stem (neck)
and handle (head) of a vacuum cleaner, hence the
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43 (1998) 125151
140
Fig. 9. Arch, red-crowned crane.
down (extend neck maximally down and slightly
forward, point bill down, and strain). In both
versions, the body axis is high anteriorly. Curi-
ously, the sandhill crane and Siberian crane do
Hoover-down while all of the last five species in
Table 2 do Hoover-up except the hooded crane
which does both. H very often follows alighting
and very often involves or follows a wing-spread-
up component.
H is closely related to the Butterfly and Arch.
In the sarus, brolga, and white-naped cranes, it
only appears following alighting or some other
display and is never performed alone. For the
red-crowned crane, H performance, at least some-
times, is accompanied by rising onto the toes and
by a quiet Moan or Growl. In the red-crowned
crane, the near wing is occasionally lowered and
the far wing spread and lifted during performance
of Hoover. Sometimes both wings are held high
when red-crowned cranes perform Hoover. Fe-
male hooded cranes have an interesting variant in
which the far wing is lifted during H-down, then
the bird exhibits a two-wing up-spread while still
in H-down.
EE. Crouch (Masatomi and Kitagawa, 1975;
irrelevant-crouch; Voss, 1977; Crouch Display).
This, and the next ethon, are the most intense
agonistic displays. They immediately precede out-
right Attack if the intruder approaches further.
Two versions of C are seen. In both forms, the
bird lowers to Lie posture as if Incubating and
compresses the neck feathers. In the Siberian and
crowned crane version, the wings are normally left
completely closed, but in all other species, some
degree of spreading is occasionally exhibited.
High intensity displays involve more spreading.
Having the wings spread also enables a more
rapid Attack should the intruder continue to ap-
proach. In most species, most of the time, C is
accompanied by much bill contact with nearby
vegetation (Ellis et al. (1991) terms are Stab,
Pecking, Nibble, Tug, and Thrash). C in the
Siberian crane is unique in that the bird, when
once crouched, always holds its bill motionless.
Crouch appears to be a form of ritualized Incuba-
tion and probably signals to an intruder that the
performer has a great investment in the territory
(i.e. is nesting).
title Hoover. The two versions are Hoover-up
(extend neck maximally upward and slightly for-
ward, tuck bill down, and strain) and Hoover-
Fig. 10. Hoover, sandhill crane.
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43 (1998) 125151
141
Fig. 11. Pre-attack, sandhill crane.
most or all species, at least in the context of adults
defending mates or young.
A. Run-flap. If the intruder is at a distance, the
crane may Run while Flapping to enter combat or
may R-f to flee. R-f may be followed by agonistic
display rather than combat.
B and C. Hiss and Gape. In an Attack, the bird
may loudly Hiss and Gape widely at the target.
D. Bill-stab (Masatomi and Kitagawa, 1975;
upright-peck; Nesbitt and Archibald, 1981; Bill
Sparring). A rapid thrust of the bill (closed or
slightly open) is used to injure the target. Preda-
tors (e.g. dog (Canis familiaris) and human) have
been killed by a stab of a crane’s bill (Bent,
1926:227).
E. Jump-rake (Masatomi and Kitagawa, 1975;
Kick). The crane leaps into the air (Fig. 12) and
slashes at its opponent with its talons. The
strongly curved inside talon is believed to inflict
most of the damage.
F. Wing-thrash. Some damage can also be infl-
icted by slapping the wings against the opponent/
intruder, but rapid and repeated W-t probably
serve more to confuse and distract than to injure.
3.4.
Defensi6e and submissi6e displays and
acti6ities
All cranes are believed to have all of the follow-
ing displays. These are most often performed by
ill birds, chicks, and subordinate adults. They are
normally accompanied by Bare-skin-contraction
FF. Pre-attack (Voss, 1977; Spread-wing Dis-
play). As the crane approaches (or backs away
from) an intruder in preparation for Attack, it
will typically spread and droop its wings so pri-
mary and secondary tips droop or touch the
vegetation (Fig. 11). The neck is extended upward
and slightly forward with the head facing the
intruder. Alarm-call, Guard-call, and Hiss often
accompany a display. Young colts are particularly
prone to display P-a just prior to Attacking an-
other chick.
3.3.
Attack and mob
A and M are ‘activities’ involving many action
patterns. An A normally is preceded by, and often
is interspersed with and followed by, several social
displays, but is in itself not a display but rather an
attempt to dispel or kill an intruder. All species
show all of the following A action patterns. In
addition, pre-fledged chicks of some, and perhaps
all, species use some and probably all of the food
dismemberment ethons (described in Ellis et al.,
1991) when attacking siblings.
Mobbing, a group rush at a predator or an-
other common enemy, has been known for the
Eurasian crane since at least the 13th century
(Wood and Fyfe, 1969). M may be present in Fig. 12. Jump-rake, Siberian crane.
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Fig. 13. Cower, sandhill crane.
C. Cower-crouch and Lie-crouch. C-c can be
separated into two versions because of great con-
textual and slight physical differences. C-c is the
extreme performance of Cower: it differs only in
that the subordinate or depressed bird (most often
a chick) lowers to Sit or Lie posture while per-
forming. When performed by an adult on the
nest, it becomes Lie-crouch and lacks the neck
Fluff component. When approached by a preda-
tor, an Incubating adult will L-c with the neck
forward outstretched or wrapped around the
body to one side. By performing L-c, the adult is
probably not signaling subordinance as in Cower,
but rather is probably trying to avoid detection.
Once the intruder is very close or shows that it
has located the adult, the performer will often rise
and defend its nest, flee, or try to lure the intruder
away.
D. Distraction-display (Masatomi and Kita-
gawa, 1975; Diversionary display). An adult at-
tending eggs or young may, if approached by a
fearsome predator, move diagonally away from
the nest and thus lure the intruder past the off-
spring. Often this behavior (i.e. luring away) is
accompanied by a special display. The D-d in-
volves drooping and dragging one or both wings
over the vegetation while walking away from the
intruder. The head is also held low and the bird
may vocalize Distress-call. This display is proba-
bly homologous to the ‘broken wing display of
shorebirds’.
E. Bunching. Some cranes flee at the approach
of an avian predator while others (including
greater sandhill cranes, G.c.tabida; Rod
Drewien, Personal communication) rush into a
compact group and point bills skyward in an
obvious attempt to deter the predator from
attacking.
F. Flee. Another option for a crane is to Walk,
Run or Run-flap while Fleeing from an intruder.
G. Pre-copulation (Masatomi and Kitagawa,
1975; Irrelevant-wing-open). Described in Section
3.6, G, the female form of P-c (Fig. 14) occasion-
ally appears in appeasement context when a sub-
ordinate crane of either sex performs this display
at the approach of a more aggressive bird. P-c is
not infrequent in pre-fledged chicks 6 weeks of
age and older.
and/or Head-sleek and Feather-tuft-compression,
the converse of dominant displays (Section 3.2,
C F). Bunching and fleeing, while fitting under
this heading, are activities rather than displays.
Some pair-related ethons (most notably the Pre-
copulatory display (Section 3.6, D)) also appear in
appeasement contexts.
A. Wing-flare-cower. Like Pre-attack, the wings
are spread and drooped. Differs in that the head
is held low with the neck fluffed and curved down
and forward (as in Cower, discussed next). May
grade into Pre-attack when intruder presses.
B. Cower (Masatomi and Kitagawa, 1975;
Neck-retracted-submission). In C (Fig. 13), the
body axis is nearly horizontal, the neck is curved
down with the head held low and retracted, and
the feathers of the head and neck are elevated
(Fluffed). Very submissive young and ill cranes
commonly show this display. In chicks, this dis-
play is normally accompanied by the following
related and intergrading calls: Peep, Contact-call
and Food-begging-call. Masatomi and Kitagawa
(1975) identified a Head-down-submission involv-
ing the head lowered near the ground rather than
neck coiled. We consider these as two forms of C.
A third form, wherein the bill is drawn near the
Fluffed, but not retracted, neck, has been seen in
juvenile birds observing their parents engaged in a
territorial fray (M.A. Bishop, Personal
communication).
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3.5.
Concordant beha6ior
All cranes are to some degree gregarious. Sev-
eral displays, vocalizations, and activities promote
coordinated movement, and obviate actual At-
tacks within a social unit. Pair related ethons,
while of the same genre as those discussed below,
are presented separately in Section 3.6.
A. Contact-call (Section 3.1, D). This quiet
growl is given at several second intervals as cranes
quietly forage together. It grades in a continuum
from the whistle-like Peep of the chick to the
louder Pre-flight call and Flight-call of fledged
chicks and adults.
B and C. Pre-flight and Pre-flight-call
(Masatomi and Kitagawa, 1975; Intentional pos-
ture; Section 3.1, E). In a group situation, when a
crane adopts the unique neck-stretched-forward-
and-up P-f posture (Fig. 15), it faces into the wind
and gives P-f-c, a louder version of the Contact-
call. If other cranes decide to also depart, they
align themselves with the first, pose in P-f, and
also call. Soon others and perhaps all in the group
join in. Then one and perhaps all Run-flap and
lift into Flight. A Neck-fluff version (suggesting
fear) is occasionally seen in the whooping crane,
sandhill crane, and perhaps others.
D and E. Flight-call and Fly. Crane’s normal
method of Flight (an activity comprised of several
Fig. 15. Pre-flight, Siberian crane.
action patterns: Soar, Glide, Flap, etc.; Ellis et al.,
1991) is by constant flapping (i.e. powered flight).
However, on migration they often use thermals as
supplementary sources of power (Pennycuik et al.,
1979). Cranes also save energy in level, powered
flight by Flying in ‘V’ or ‘chevron’ formation
(Walkinshaw, 1973; Pennycuik et al., 1979). Fly-
ing in formation is aerodynamically more effi-
cient, allowing trailing birds to make use of an
‘upwash’ of air that spreads laterally behind and
beyond each bird’s wing tips (Burton, 1990). Un-
like most birds that F in formation, cranes at least
sometimes F slightly higher than the bird immedi-
ately in front of them. Aerodynamic efficiency
may be thereby compromised to a degree. Even
so, they gain some lift from the preceding bird
and also benefit by improved visibility (Burton,
1990). Wing-flick-flight was discussed earlier (Sec-
tion 3.2, N). Some additional Flight displays are
probably present as suggested by Bent (1926:227),
but not yet known well enough to delineate here.
F-c is probably identical to the Pre-flight-call,
separate only by context. Given while birds are
aloft, it is believed to be given even by a bird
Flying alone. In this context, F-c may serve to
locate other birds.
F. Allopreen. Both species of crowned cranes
Preen the back and neck regions of family mem-
bers and mates. A often appears in conflict situa-
tions and, as such, it may serve as a displacement
activity or otherwise limit aggression.
Fig. 14. Pre-copulation, black-necked crane (female).
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3.6.
Pair related beha6ior
Pair formation and maintenance in cranes, just
as for other bird groups, involves the full range of
agonistic displays, elements of Attack, and several
displays unique to pairing. Further, many non-so-
cial ethons are performed in synchrony as mates
travel together, forage a short distance apart,
Alarm-call, and perform a host of social and
maintenance activities simultaneously and in close
proximity. The ethons below are in order, from
least to most complex, and from first performed
(in new pairs or at the onset of a new breeding
season) to those that culminate. Not discussed
below is Feather-painting (Ellis et al., 1991), an
activity that may have social significance.
A. Unison-walking. Paired cranes very often
Walk side-by-side or, more often, the male leads
with the female a few paces behind. This behavior
is especially evident when an intruder is present.
As the intruder approaches, the male may Strut
with the female in tow performing U-w.
B. Unison-call. Described earlier (Fig. 1; Sec-
tion 3.1, I), duetting is important in pair forma-
tion and maintenance for all species.
C. Dance. D is an activity sometimes involving
most agonistic displays (Section 3.2), all elements
of Attack (Section 3.3), and some unique action
patterns. Elements of D appear in play contexts
both for adults and young. D differs from agonis-
tic displays by its much more active and flowing
nature. Birds in D very often avoid looking di-
rectly at the recipient, especially when it is very
near. In D, it is common to observe incipient
performances and grades of intensity in perform-
ing. Variation in ‘behavioral quality’ is thereby
more evident than in most or all other activities.
At least in captivity, D is much less developed in
crowned cranes than in other species.
1. Spread-hold (Masatomi and Kitagawa, 1975;
Pre-leap). One bird widely fans and lifts its wings
while at intervals peering at its dance mate. S-h is
sometimes performed while Walking or Running.
2 and 3. Gape and Gape-sweep. In G, the bill is
held open, often for several seconds. In G-s, the
open bill is rotated laterally (ca 20 50°) away
from the recipient, then returned toward. Mates
often G, G-s, and perform the previous display in
tandem, and all three displays often lead into a
Dancing bout.
4 and 5. Tuck-bob and Leap (Masatomi and
Kitagawa, 1975; Stoop). These very active dis-
plays are most often seen when a pair dances, but
bouts of T-b sometimes erupt in a closely crowded
flock. As nearby birds become excited, they begin
Gaping and Leaping and rushing about. To per-
form these displays, a crane rapidly elevates its
head, sometimes Leaping from the ground, then
just as swiftly crouches low (Fig. 16) with the
body axis depressed forward, and the neck tightly
coiled. Sometimes a crane holds this coiled pose
for a second or two, but more often it shoots up
and down in several rapid cycles of tucking, then
bobbing up high. The wings are partly spread in
many, but not all, performances. L may lift a
crane a meter or more, and is always accompa-
nied by some degree of wing spreading and
Flapping.
6. Object-toss (Masatomi and Kitagawa, 1975;
Throw). Sometimes a crane will Dance alone for
several seconds before its mate enters the fray.
Even when Dancing solo, dancers very often O-t.
To perform O-t, a bird Bill-stabs and then grasps
a feather (most often), a grass stem, or some other
light object and tosses it skyward with a quick
upward flip of the bill. The object is thereafter
Gaped at or Bill-stabbed or Jump-raked (Fig. 12)
as it floats down. Running, Flapping and Leaping
are components of all well developed Object-toss
bouts.
Fig. 16. Tuck-bob, gray crowned crane.
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7. Run-flap-glide. In the course of a Dance, one
crane (typically the female) becomes intimidated
by the wild gyrations of its mate and retreats in
R-f-g (actually three separate action patterns),
then comes rushing back Running and Flapping
and sometimes Gliding along, barely touching the
ground. Both birds then whirl and rush about in
skipping steps, half aloft, half Running.
8. Hoo6er or Neck-crane (Masatomi and Kita-
gawa, 1975; Low-bow and High-bow; Section 3.2,
DD). In the midst of a Dance, but especially at
the onset when only one crane is excited, the
non-performing crane will often H (Fig. 10) or
perform some other moderate-intensity agonistic
display, as if to ward off advances by the dancer.
9. Bill-stab (Section 3.3, D). During a Dance
bout, one or both cranes will often B-s at its
partner. Almost always these Bill-stabs are given
from too far away to be genuine attempts to
injure.
D and E. Pre-copulation and Copulation-call
(Masatomi and Kitagawa, 1975; Irrelevant-wing-
open, Wing-spread, and Bill-raise; Voss, 1976a;
P-c). All cranes have a conspicuous P-c display.
Details of typical sequences of behavior before
and after Copulation are supplied by Masatomi
(1983a) for six species. A typical performance for
a whooping crane male or female is for one adult
to walk slowly in short measured steps with bill
pointed skyward (Fig. 17; neck fully extended up
and slightly forward). The bird emits a quiet
growl (C-c) in short (ca 0.5 s), rapid bursts sepa-
rated by very brief (ca 0.2 s) quiet intervals. In a
typical copulation bout, both birds stroll along,
one behind the other, bill-up calling. Eventually
(and sometimes very shortly), the female (Fig. 14)
spreads her wings very wide laterally, with secon-
daries drooped, and allows the male to approach
from behind. The full performance of P-c for her
then includes this wing-spread-droop component
which the male ‘normally’ lacks. The female’s P-c
display is sometimes given by a subordinate bird
(even a male and sometimes even large colts
(Voss, 1976a)) in response to the approach of a
dominant bird.
F. Copulation (Copulation-call). Like Attack
and Dance, C really is an activity involving sev-
eral component action patterns. Like Attack, it
Fig. 17. Pre-copulation, Siberian crane (male).
also is not a social display. Rather it is the
culmination of many social displays. In the C
sequence, the pair approach in Pre-copulatory
display, but then the male (or sometimes the
female; Masatomi and Kitagawa, 1975:835)
Walks and Flaps onto the back of his mate. The
mounting bird lowers to Sit (i.e. rests tarsi on
back of his partner) while still Flapping to bal-
ance, then presses his tail left or right around the
tail of his mate and cloacal contact is completed.
We estimate that cloacal contact lasts for 3 to 10
s in successful bouts. Some tail-wagging and mi-
nor pelvic thrusting may also be present but is
inconspicuous. Most often the male dismounts by
sliding forward off the front of the female, but
may step backward (Voss, 1976a). Typical bouts
of C are followed by some agonistic display
(Masatomi, 1983a,b) including Unison-calling for
many species.
For the Eugrus Group (five species), a some-
what distinct C-c exists. For these species, the call
given in Pre-copulation increases in crescendo un-
til it becomes a wailing scream, the C-c.
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3.7.
Nest preparation and maintenance beha6ior
All species are believed to have all of the fol-
lowing action patterns in their repertoire. How-
ever, demoiselle cranes and blue cranes often
build insignificant nests or no nests at all. As
such, many individual birds likely never perform
some or all of the action patterns listed below.
None of the action patterns discussed below,
and in the next section (Section 3.8), are of neces-
sity performed in social settings. However, we
include them here (and excluded them from the
ethogram of non-social behavior (Ellis et al.,
1991) based on the logic that all reproductive
efforts of all species are social in nature.
A. Sideways-toss. Stems/twigs are moved to-
ward the nest site and onto the nest platform
using S-t. An individual stem may be sequentially
moved closer and closer in stages until it is finally
deposited on the mound. Typically, an adult will
Stand facing away from the nest and S-t many
twigs toward the nest, then move to a new site
and repeat. It may take days before a particular
stem actually arrives at the mound by this means.
We believe that S-t is the more important ethon
for male nest building, while Sweep-drop (below)
is primarily used by the female.
B. Sweep-drop. Similar to Sideways-toss but
lacking the fling component and including a dis-
tinct drop component, this action pattern is used
more for actual placement of twigs on the mound
and rearranging stems on the nest while
Incubating.
C. Nest-probe. The bill is inserted by sequen-
tially being thrust deeper and deeper into the nest.
The primary function of this action pattern is
probably to test for water encroachment on the
nest. In warm climates, it may function to mea-
sure heat of decay as for the Megapodes. It is
performed primarily while Incubating.
D. Tread. Probably all species of cranes trample
the nest surface to compact vegetation prior to
Incubation, and T is probably present in the
repertoire even of species that normally nest with-
out a nest but observations are not available. See
also Section 3.8, J.
3.8.
Parental beha6ior
Most of the ethons listed below have a direct
functional nature and are not primarily displays,
if at all. Only the last three (i.e. Section 3.8, K, L
and M) have a conspicuous display role.
A. O6iposition. Egg laying is of necessity stereo-
typed by physical limitations in long-legged
cranes. The female typically Sits (i.e. breast up,
heels down) in something of a Cower posture
(Fig. 18; head down, neck retracted) and quivers
slightly (strains as egg moves into and out of her
cloaca) at intervals, then expels the egg with a
brief dip of the lower abdomen. Sometimes an egg
actually drops a few cm before contacting the
nest.
B and C. High-step and Waddle. H-s involves
exaggerated foot lifting movements (i.e. the foot is
lifted higher and held up longer than in normal
Walking) and is exhibited when approaching and
leaving the eggs, as when commencing or finishing
an Incubation bout. When near the eggs, a crane
lowers to Sit, Incubate posture, and uses the
side-to-side movements of W to move forward
over the eggs. In W the heels rest on the substrate
and the feet either lie limply on or dangle above
the nest.
D and E. Shuffle and Settle. As the adult lowers
into Lie Incubation posture, it first Shuffles its
legs closer and closer to the eggs, then in a
separate action pattern, it Settles over the eggs
and beds the eggs in its feathers by rocking side-
to-side. In some performances, the wings are also
Fig. 18. Oviposition, sandhill crane.
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involved, supporting the weight of the bird as it
Shuffles and Settles.
F. Bill-tuck. At intervals through each incuba-
tion day, the ventral side of the bill is pulled
across the eggs and rotates them. In cranes, B-t
most often results in the small end of the egg
being lifted over the large rather than the egg
rolling about its long axis.
G and H. Incubation and Brooding. Although
incubation (Lying over eggs) and Brooding (Ly-
ing, Sitting, or even Standing over chicks) are
physically and functionally alike, we include both
terms because they are so widely accepted. When
Brooding in Lie posture, the breast contacts the
substrate (eggs and/or nest), whereas for Sit the
breast is not supporting, and the weight is borne
by the heels, tarsi, and sometimes the drooped
wings. Chicks, when being Brooded, move about
beneath the breast and wing and sometimes pro-
trude from the feathers of the back.
I. Shading. Cranes Shade eggs and/or young in
Stand, Sit, and Lie postures. The wings may be
tightly closed or spread to a greater or lesser
degree. When Shading, an adult may turn its back
to the sun, but for some S bouts, the sun is not
behind the crane. Cranes are not known to
slightly lift or slightly extend their wings at inter-
vals while S as seen in some other birds (Ellis,
1979), nor are there unique positions that distin-
guish it from Incubation/Brooding.
J. Tread. Several species of cranes (Table 2) are
known to T on vegetation to open a brood yard
or a foraging area (up to3mindiameter) for a
chick (Pomeroy, 1980). Probably all species per-
form this activity sometimes. Walking is the pri-
mary component, but the step used is somewhat
different. In normal Walking or Running, the foot
closes so the toes lie parallel as the foot lifts,
passing through the vegetation. When Treading,
however, the toes are left spread for use in flatten-
ing the vegetation.
K. Nesting-call. Described earlier (Section 3.1,
C), this quiet, brief growl of the adult is repeated
in rapid series and is most often heard during
Incubation and while the chicks are small. It
sounds similar to the growl given during Bill-
down-growl. Adults use this call when responding
to the chick’s Peeps before hatching and in all
other contexts when an adult attends a chick
(even fledged young).
L. Present-morsel (Masatomi and Kitagawa,
1975; Feed). Parent cranes hold food items near
or at the tip of the bill while presenting them to a
chick. The adult lowers its head, extends the bill
laterally toward the chick, and growls (Nesting-
call). Sometimes adults present a morsel, drop it,
then pick it up and present and drop it many
times in succession.
M. Distraction-display (Masatomi and Kita-
gawa, 1975; Diversionary display). D-d was dis-
cussed earlier (Section 3.4, D).
3.9.
Filial beha6ior
Chicks are strongly interactive with their par-
ents, calling, approaching, following, and Pecking
the adult’s bill. Distinct ethons are described
below.
A and B. Peep and Contact-call. Described
earlier (Section 3.1, A), P is first heard as soon as
the chick breaks into the air cell (2 3 days prior
to hatching), and continues with modifications
until the chick is independent. P grades into the
C-c of chicks and adults, but P-like calls are
emitted by ill or subordinate birds even as adults.
C and D. Food-begging and Wing-qui6er.To
F-b, a chick orients toward an adult, holds its
neck retracted (as in Cower) but with the bill
pointed up, Peeps, and Pecks lightly at the adult’s
bill. A W-q component is often present in F-b
context and perhaps when soliciting Brooding.
W-q is performed by lifting the wings slightly
away from the body and simultaneously fluttering
them, shiver-like, at low amplitude and at high
frequency (about two to five strokes/s). In tiny
chicks, W-q is normally accompanied by vigorous
Peeping, less so in older chicks. W-q is rare or
absent in colts older than one month.
E. Accept-morsel. Chicks Peep and Peck at the
adult’s bill to remove food items. Young and
older birds use the same Peck to steal food from
another crane, but normally would not Peep while
doing so.
F and G. Stress-call and Distress-call. The Peep
of a neonate is very like the S-c and D-c. For
large colts and adults, these three calls and the
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43 (1998) 125151
148
Contact-call intergrade, but they are distinct
enough at the extremes, and differ in context
enough, to convey different messages to other
cranes and merit separate titles here.
4. Discussion and conclusions
Cranes have a tremendously complex repertoire
of stereotyped social behavior. Although compari-
sons of the number of displays between taxa is
difficult (Nelson, 1978) because one author may
divide a complex display into several components
while another author treats each display as a
single unit, comparisons between taxa are possi-
ble. Descriptive ethology is founded on the
premise that discrete behavioral acts can be iden-
tified. Even more obvious, the ability of animals
to interact socially implies that discrete social
signals exist and are decipherable by conspecifics.
If they are decipherable by conspecifics, then, with
careful study, the ethologist can also tease apart
the social alphabet of a species.
Moynihan (1970) provided a rough yardstick of
the complexity of the social repertoire of 27 spe-
cies of vertebrates. He reported that the number
of social displays per species within each verte-
brate class varied from 10 to 26 for fish, 15 to 28
for birds, and 16 to 37 for mammals. The apex
was 37 for rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), a
well-studied primate. When we revisited the sub-
ject in the light of subsequent work with birds, we
found general agreement with Moynihan’s (1970)
tally. For example, about 25 displays are de-
scribed for the black-necked grebe (Podiceps ni-
gricollis; Prinzinger, 1974), 20 30 are known for
each species of Sulidae (Nelson, 1978), 27 for the
green heron (Butorides 6irescens; Meyerriecks,
1960), 22 for the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos;
Ellis, 1979), and about 20 displays for the mourn-
ing dove (Zenaida macroura; Sayre et al., 1993).
Hailman (1977) estimated that 50 displays might
be an upper limit in non-human animals.
The crane social repertoire (Table 2: 60-plus
stereotyped social ethons per species (even when
nest-related ethons and complex activities are not
included)), as described herein, would tentatively
place cranes at the apex of behavioral complexity,
at least for stereotyped social behavior. However,
this does not mean that cranes are more complex
socially than any other animal group. Mammals,
most notably primates, have a much wider range
of social expression because they present signals
over a broader spectrum of display intensity. They
also use more subtle calls and more variety in
facial expressions than we have found in cranes.
Wilson (1975:185) referred to graded signals or
signal enrichment to express these concepts. Fur-
ther, the nearly infinite number of social expres-
sions possible through the use of language places
man apart from all other vertebrates. However,
when considering only the number of stereotyped
social displays, cranes surface as presenting the
most complex repertoire known. We are aware
that our level of detail in teasing apart separate
ethons is greater than that employed in some
studies (e.g. Sayre et al., 1993). However, we have
resisted the temptation when ‘dissecting’ displays
to count components as separate displays.
Fortunately for our efforts to identify discrete
behavioral units, most crane displays are both
consistent and conspicuous. This stereotypy and
the extraordinary complexity of their social reper-
toire stems, we believe, from three factors: first,
cranes are solitary on the breeding grounds, sec-
ond, most are gregarious when not breeding, and
third, all have lethal bills. These traits result in
first, a need to advertise their breeding territory
over long distances (where only conspicuous and
stereotyped displays will serve), second, a need to
interact socially over short distances when in a
flock, and third, a need to avoid combat least
severe injury or death result. Nelson (1978), in
speculating about the complexity of sulid social
repertoire, added two more possible factors,
namely large body size and great longevity. It will
be most interesting to see if future studies can
identify unrelated vertebrate taxa that exhibit sim-
ilar traits (i.e. species that show seasonal territori-
ality, lethal capabilities, etc.) and determine if
these taxa have developed social signals of com-
parable complexity. However, we expect that in
the final analysis cranes will retain what now
appears to be their position as premier among
birds and perhaps among all other animals in the
number of salient social displays.
D.H.Ellis et al.
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43 (1998) 125151
149
Recently, molecular studies have been used to
clarify phylogenies (Ingold et al., 1989; Krajewski,
1989, 1990; Dessauer et al., 1992; Krajewski and
Fetzner, 1994). All of these clearly separate
crowned cranes into a separate subfamily. The
Eugrus Group also seems discrete from the re-
maining species (Love, 1990; Dessauer et al.,
1992; Love and Deininger, 1991). One remaining
point of controversy is in the placement of the
wattled crane (Krajewski, 1989; Krajewski and
Fetzner, 1994). The molecular genetics studies
agree that the blue crane is probably the wattled
crane’s nearest relative. Our behavioral treatment
agrees that the wattled crane is closely related to
the blue and demoiselle cranes. The frequency,
and especially the precise motions, of four wattled
crane displays (i.e. the Head-lower-ruffle, Wing-
spread-flap, Tail-wag, and Head-flick) are strik-
ingly like those of the blue crane. A wattled-blue
link is also supported by external plumage simi-
larities, biogeography, and the propensity of the
two species to hybridize in the wild (Johnson,
1985).
For the Siberian crane, the molecular genetics
studies (Krajewski, 1989; Krajewski and Fetzner,
1994) indicate, as does much of the divergent
agonistic repertoire, that the latter species is not
closely related to any other species. Wood’s stud-
ies of morphology, however, are largely consistent
with Archibald’s conclusion that the wattled crane
is allied with the Siberian crane (Archibald,
1976a,b; Wood, 1979). However, one analysis
clustered the blue and wattled cranes together.
From our attempt to use behavior to separate
species and to identify species groups, several
generalizations arise. First, most non-social
ethons are common to all species (Ellis et al.,
1991). In addition, ethons related to rearing
young, to defending, and to attacking are conser-
vative and therefore shared by all species. As
expected, we found that agonistic displays are less
conservative (i.e. more divergent) and are there-
fore more useful in defining taxonomic groups.
However even here, comparisons (Table 2) re-
vealed very few displays that could, on the basis
of presence or absence alone, be used to define
taxonomic groups. Interpretation of results in
Table 2 is further confused by the fact that some
displays are closely related to (or arbitrarily sepa-
rated from) others with the result that the absence
of one display in one species means very little if a
second species exhibits a display that is obviously
a homologous variant. An example of this are the
Bill-down displays (Table 2; II, O-R). It is proba-
bly of little significance that the crowned cranes
do not have a growl (II, P) component for their
similar displays, Bill-down-hold and Bill-down-
sweep (II, O and Q), that are almost certainly
homologs of Bill-down-growl performed by all
other species.
The most conspicuous generalizations from
Table 2 are as follows: Copulatory-call (I, P)
separates the Eugrus Group from all other cranes.
Ventral-preen (II, M) separates the two crowned
cranes from all other species. Three displays,
Head-lower-ruffle (II, T), Ruffle-bow (II, U), and
Wing-spread-hold (II, V), together suggest that
crowned cranes and the Long-train Group are
related, but separate, from all other cranes. Real-
ize, however, that once again II, T and II, U are
related (i.e. probably homologous) displays. Some
differences fit no consistent pattern. For example,
if the crowned cranes are related to the Long-
train Group as suggested by II, M, II, T, and II,
V, why do all species except the Long-train Group
exhibit Neck-crane (II, DD)? Some other separa-
tions are suggested by the table, but do not merit
mention without further study.
Because almost all displays (Table 2) proved to
be common to all species, the differences between
species lie primarily in the expression of display
components not in the presence or absence of the
displays. These observations, together with
Archibald’s success in generating a robust phy-
logeny (Archibald, 1976a,b) (later supported by
the molecular studies) using divergent compo-
nents of a single social display (the Unison-call),
lead us to speculate that detailed comparisons of
the fine components of at least some of the social
displays will in the future prove more useful in
defining evolutionary relationships than was pos-
sible from our gross treatment of the presence/ab-
sence of the displays themselves.
From all molecular and behavioral compari-
sons, including this study, it is clear that all but
the African crowned cranes are phylogenetically
D.H.Ellis et al.
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Beha6ioural Processes
43 (1998) 125151
150
very close. Once the African crowned cranes are
separated, the second most distinct group includes
the five species in the Eugrus (Archibald’s 1976a
americana) Group. Strongly suggested is the
grouping of three species in the long-train
(Archibald’s 1976a Anthropoides) group. Other
relationships are still unclear. An important ques-
tion involves identifying affinities of the Siberian
crane, and clarifying the relationships between the
brolga and white-naped cranes (C. Krajewski,
Personal communication).
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the pres-
ence-absence data, as presented in Table 2, is that
so many displays are present in all species. While
we are fully aware of the potential that interspe-
cific similarities may be due to convergence rather
than descent from a common parent, we assert
that these similarities are so extensive (see discus-
sion of criteria for determining homology in Tem-
brock, 1963) not only in the form of each display,
but also in the context of performance and, just as
important, in the responses commonly elicited by
each, that our observations support the concept
that the displays, as described and grouped
herein, are true homologs (versus analogs) and
support the theory that all cranes are closely
related. Decades ago, morphological studies of
external appearance, osteology, and intrasternal
tracheal coiling generated a phylogeny (Peters,
1934; Archibald, 1976b; Johnsgard, 1983) that has
been little changed by molecular genetics studies
during the past 10 years (Krajewski, 1989) and
little altered by our, apparently less powerful,
presence/absence data for social displays.
Acknowledgements
At both of our institutions, a host of curators,
caretakers, and administrators have made this
study possible. To all we offer our thanks. In
particular, we dedicate this paper to Dr Ray C.
Erickson, founder of the endangered species re-
search program at Patuxent. Line drawings are by
Ms. Billi Wagner. Cathy Ellis assisted in all as-
pects of manuscript development. J.E.R. Staddon
greatly benefitted the manuscript during the re-
view process.
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... Their closest relatives are the family Aramidae, then the family Psophiidae and the family Rallidae (Prum et al. 2015). Ellis et al. (1998) published a complete homologized sociogram of impressive and complex behaviour. Nevertheless, these unique data have neither been combined with molecular data for the detection of phylogenetic signals in a behavioural repertoire nor analysed for the evolution of specific behaviour traits under phylogenetic control. ...
... Frequency of pair dances and thus harmonization of the pair affects their reproductive success (Takeda et al. 2019). Cranes also exhibit a system of social postures, displays, and other activities as feeding habits or alerts, made up of at least 60 behavioural characters (Ellis et al. 1998;Panov et al. 2010). Dances are usually completed with a vocalization. ...
... Johnsgard 1983; Harris and Mirande 2013; Prange 2016) were analysed (see names in Fig. 1, or in Additional file 1: Table S1). We used a complete sociogram from the study of Ellis et al. (1998) in which all behavioural traits observed in the cranes are specified and scored. The complete sociogram contains 107 behavioural traits, including vocalization (17 characters), agonistic displays (32 characters), and parental behaviour (13 characters). ...
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... We examined all images of predator and nonpredator interactions in detail to identify the frequency of known threat and attack behaviors (Ellis et al. 1998) and their relationship to the outcome of the interaction. The animals encountered were identified whenever possible; if they were not visible or if they were blurred on the image we classified them as unknown. ...
... The animals encountered were identified whenever possible; if they were not visible or if they were blurred on the image we classified them as unknown. We recorded unambiguous postural threats and movements and classified them into discrete behavioral classes as described in Ellis et al. (1998). Although we relied on still photos, we were able to use photographic sequences to distinguish between static postural threats and agonistic displays involving movement (e.g., wing-spread-hold vs. wing-spread-flap). ...
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RESEARCH PAPERS HABITAT SELECTION BY BREEDING SANDHILL CRANES IN CENTRAL WISCONSIN. Tamara P. Miller and Jeb A. Barzen 1 HIGH NEST DENSITY OF SANDHILL CRANES IN CENTRAL WISCONSIN.Jeb A. Barzen, Liying Su, Anne E. Lacy, Andrew P. Gossens, and Dorn M. Moore 13 DIFFERENTIAL DETECTION OF TERRITORIAL AND NON-TERRITORIAL GREATER SANDHILL CRANES IN SUMMER. Lindsey F. McKinney, Jeb A. Barzen, Jason D. Riddle, Shelli A. Dubay, and Tim F. Ginnett 25 TIMING OF FAMILY DISSOCIATION DOES NOT AFFECT LONG-TERM SURVIVAL ESTIMATES OF SANDHILL CRANE CHICKS Matthew A. Hayes and Jeb A. Barzen 33 A REVIEW OF FALL SANDHILL CRANE MIGRATION THROUGH INDIANA. Allisyn-Marie T. Y. Gillet 42 WINTER AND MIGRATORY HABITAT USE OF SIX EASTERN GREATER SANDHILL CRANES. Hillary L. Thompson and Anne E. Lacy 47 HISTORIC AND RECENT WINTER SANDHILL CRANE DISTRIBUTION IN CALIFORNIA.Gary L. Ivey, Caroline P. Herziger, David A. Hardt, and Gregory H. Golet 54 NESTING ACTIVITY BUDGETS AND ANTIPREDATOR BEHAVIORS OF MISSISSIPPI SANDHILL CRANES.Jerome J. Howard, Rose Butler Wall, Lauren Billodeaux Mowbray, and Scott G. Hereford 67 THE UTILITY OF CENSUS OR SURVEY FOR MONITORING WHOOPING CRANES IN WINTER. Bruce H. Pugesek and Thomas V. Stehn 75 SIZE DIFFERENCE IN WHOOPING CRANES REARED FOR TWO REINTRODUCTION METHODS. Richard P. Urbanek, Marianne M. Wellington, and Sabrina Servanty 85 USE OF FRESHWATER PONDS BY WHOOPING CRANES DURING A DROUGHT PERIOD. Karis Ritenour, Elizabeth Smith, and Barry K. Hartup 90 PROTOCOL AND RESULTS FROM THE FIRST SEASON OF CAPTIVE-REARING WHOOPING CRANES FOR A NON-MIGRATORY RELEASE IN LOUISIANA. Glenn H. Olsen and Jane N. Chandler 94 PHOTOPERIOD AND NESTING PHENOLOGY OF WHOOPING CRANES AT TWO CAPTIVE SITES. Glenn H. Olsen 98 HEMATOLOGY RESULTS FROM EXPERIMENTAL EXPOSURE OF SANDHILL CRANES TO WEST NILE VIRUS.Glenn H. Olsen 103 SERUM CHEMISTRY, BLOOD GAS, AND PHYSIOLOGICAL MEASURES OF SANDHILL CRANES SEDATED WITH ALPHA-CHLORALOSE Richard R. Sim and Barry K. Hartup 107 Abstracts AGE-SPECIFIC SURVIVAL OF GREATER SANDHILL CRANE COLTS IN NEVADA. Chad August, Jim Sedinger, and Chris Nicolai 111 WHOOPING CRANE DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT USE: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE? Jane Austin, Matthew Hayes, and Jeb Barzen 111 BEHAVIORAL MOVEMENTS OF ARANSAS-WOOD BUFFALO WHOOPING CRANES: ANOMALIES OR INDICATIONS OF WAYS TO FURTHER ENHANCE SPECIES RECOVERY. David Baasch, Mark Bidwell, Wade Harrell, Kris Metzger, Aaron Pearse, and Mary Harner 112 INFLUENCES ON NEST SUCCESS IN A REINTRODUCED POPULATION OF WHOOPING CRANES. Jeb Barzen, Sarah Converse, Peter Adler, Elmer Gray, Anne Lacy, Eva Szyszkoski, and Andrew Gossens 113 DETERMINING DIET COMPOSITION AND INGESTION RATE OF CRANES THROUGH FIELD MEASUREMENT. Jeb Barzen, Ted Thousand, Julia Welch, Megan Fitzpatrick, Eloise Lachance, and Triet Tran 114 HABITAT USE AND MOVEMENT PATTERNS OF WHOOPING CRANES IN THE OIL SANDS MINING REGION. Mark Bidwell, David Baasch, Dave Brandt, John Conkin, Mary Harner, Wade Harrell, Kris Metzger, Aaron Pearse, and Richard Wiacek 115 CAPTURE AND DEPLOYING GPS PTTS ON ARANSAS-WOOD BUFFALO WHOOPING CRANES: LESSONS LEARNED WITH NEW TECHNIQUES AND TECHNOLOGIES. David Brandt, Aaron Pearse, Barry Hartup, Mark Bidwell, Felipe Chavez-Ramirez, and Bradley Strobel 116 CAN HORMONE METABOLITES PREDICT THE TIMING OF REPRODUCTIVE BEHAVIORS IN THE CAPTIVE WHOOPING CRANE?. Megan Brown, Sarah Converse, Jane Chandler, Carol Keefer, and Nucharin Songssasen 117 BREEDING DISTRIBUTION OF SANDHILL CRANES IN RUSSIA. Inga Bysykatova, Gary Krapu, and David Brandt 117 A REVIEW OF PARENT-REARING WHOOPING CRANES AT PATUXENT WILDLIFE RESEARCH CENTER, 1988-2003.Jane Chandler, Brian Clauss, and Glenn Olsen 118 PREDICTING OUTCOMES OF REINTRODUCTION STRATEGIES IN A DECISION-ANALYTIC SETTING.Sarah Converse, Sabrina Servanty, Patricia Heglund, and Michael Runge 118 MOVEMENT STRATEGIES OF SUBADULT INDIVIDUALS ON WINTER HABITAT INFLUENCE WINTER RANGE EXPANSION OF A MIGRATORY BIRD. Nicole Davis and Elizabeth Smith 119 PEOPLE OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER: A GLOBAL INITIATIVE TO ADDRESS CRANE AND POWER LINE INTERACTIONS.Megan Diamond, Jim Harris, Claire Mirande, and Jane Austin 120 EVALUATION OF LONGEVITY AND WEAR OF COLORED PLASTIC LEG-BANDS DEPLOYED ON SANDHILL CRANES IN WISCONSIN Katherine Dickerson and Matthew Hayes 120 SURVIVAL OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SANDHILL CRANE. Roderick Drewien, William Kendall, Wendy Brown, and Brian Gerber 121 THE USE OF SATELLITE TELEMETRY TO EVALUATE MIGRATION CHRONOLOGY AND DISTRIBUTION OF EASTERN POPULATION SANDHILL CRANES. David Fronczak and David Andersen 121 NATIONAL WHOOPING CRANE ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAM. Joan Garland and Erica Cochrane 122 THE ROLE OF POPULATIONS AND SUBSPECIES IN SANDHILL CRANE CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT. Brian Gerber and James Dwyer 122 ANNUAL VARIATION OF YOUNG OF THE YEAR IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN POPULATION OF SANDHILL CRANES.Brian Gerber, William Kendall, James Dubovsky, Roderick Drewien, and Mevin Hooten 123 AGE-SPECIFIC MIGRATORY AND FORAGING ECOLOGY OF EASTERN POPULATION GREATER SANDHILL CRANESEverett Hanna and Scott Petrie 124 EVALUATION OF A VACUUM TECHNIQUE TO ESTIMATE ABUNDANCE OF AGRICULTURAL GRAIN. Everett Hanna, Michael Schummer, and Scott Petrie 125 CHARACTERIZATION OF STOPOVER SITES USED BY WHOOPING CRANES AS DETERMINED FROM TELEMETRY-MARKED BIRDS. Mary Harner, Greg Wright, Aaron Pearse, David Baasch, Kris Metzger, Mark Bidwell, and Wade Harrell 126 MESHING NEW INFORMATION FROM THE WHOOPING CRANE TRACKING PARTNERSHIP WITH SPECIES RECOVERY GOALS—NEXT STEPS. Wade Harrell, Mark Bidwell, Aaron Pearse, Kris Metzger, Mary Harner, and David Baasch 127 HEALTH ASSESSMENT OF JUVENILE WHOOPING CRANES IN WOOD BUFFALO NATIONAL PARK. Barry Hartup 127 TERRITORY AVAILABILITY BEST EXPLAINS FIDELITY IN SANDHILL CRANES. Matthew Hayes and Jeb Barzen 128 MISSISSIPPI SANDHILL CRANE CONSERVATION UPDATE 2011-13. Scott Hereford and Angela Dedrickson 128 MIGRATION ROUTES AND WINTERING AREAS OF PACIFIC FLYWAY LESSER SANDHILL CRANES. Gary Ivey 129 A MODEL FOR MITIGATING LOSS OF CRANES FROM POWER LINE COLLISIONS. Gary Ivey 129 SPACE USE OF WINTERING WHOOPING CRANES Kris Metzger, Mary Harner, Greg Wright, Wade Harrell, Aaron Pearse, Mark Bidwell, and David Baasch 130 SOCIAL LEARNING OF MIGRATORY PERFORMANCE. . Thomas Mueller, Sarah Converse, Robert O’Hara, Richard Urbanek, and William Fagan 130 PARENT-REARING AND RELEASING WHOOPING CRANES IN WISCONSIN. Glenn Olsen and Sarah Converse 131 BEHAVIORAL COMPARISON OF COSTUME AND PARENT-REARED WHOOPING CRANE CHICKS. Glenn Olsen, Anne Harshbarger, Anna Jiang, and Sarah Converse 131 A TECHNIQUE FOR AGING CRANES Glenn Olsen and Scott Hereford 132 MIGRATION ECOLOGY OF ARANSAS-WOOD BUFFALO WHOOPING CRANES .Aaron Pearse, David Brandt, Mary Harner, Kris Metzger, Wade Harrell, Mark Bidwell, and David Baasch 132 THE SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL USE OF HABITATS BY A REINTRODUCED POPULATION OF WHOOPING CRANES IN LOUISIANATandi Perkins and Sammy King 133 BEHAVIOR ECOLOGY OF PEN-REARED, REINTRODUCED WHOOPING CRANES WITHIN THE LOUISIANA LANDSCAPETandi Perkins and Sammy King 133 CAPTURE OF SANDHILL CRANES USING ALPHA-CHLORALOSE. Lauren Schneider, Michael Engels, Matthew Hayes, Jeb Barzen, and Barry Hartup 134 A COMPREHENSIVE HABITAT TYPE DATASET FOR WHOOPING CRANE CONSERVATION PLANNING IN TEXAS, USA. Elizabeth Smith, Felipe Chavez-Ramirez, and Luz Lumb 135 EGG PRODUCTION BY FIRST-TIME BREEDERS IN THE EASTERN MIGRATORY POPULATION OF WHOOPING CRANES. Eva Szyszkoski 135 NATAL DISPERSAL OF WHOOPING CRANES IN THE REINTRODUCED EASTERN MIGRATORY POPULATION: THE FIRST TEN YEARS Hillary Thompson and Anne Lacy 136 CHANGES IN WINTER DISTRIBUTION OF THE REINTRODUCED EASTERN MIGRATORY WHOOPING CRANE POPULATION Richard Urbanek, Eva Szyszkoski, and Sara Zimorski 136 PAIR FORMATION IN THE REINTRODUCED EASTERN MIGRATORY WHOOPING CRANE POPULATION.Richard Urbanek, Eva Szyszkoski, Sara Zimorski, and Lara Fondow 137 A PRELIMINARY LOOK AT THE DEVELOPMENT AND TIMING OF CUES INFLUENCING PHILOPATRY IN CAPTIVE-BRED WHOOPING CRANES RELEASED USING THE MODIFIED DIRECT AUTUMN RELEASE METHOD Marianne Wellington and Eva Szyszkoski 137 EGG FERTILITY RATE OF THE REINTRODUCED EASTERN MIGRATORY WHOOPING CRANE POPULATION 2005-2012. Amelia Whitear and Anne Lacy 138 REMOTE CAMERAS AID CRANE BEHAVIOR STUDIES: WET MEADOW UTILIZATION BY SANDHILL CRANES ALONG THE PLATTE RIVER, NEBRASKA.Greg Wright and Mary Harner 138 RECOVERY AND MANAGEMENT IN A FIELD ENVIRONMENT OF A JUVENILE WHOOPING CRANE FOLLOWING SURGERY TO REPAIR A FRACTURED LEFT CORACOID Sara Zimorski, James Lacour, Javier Nevarez, Katrin Saile, Jamie Wignall, João Brandão, Abbi Granger, and Patricia Queiroz-Williams 139 WHOOPING CRANES RETURN TO LOUISIANA: THE FIRST THREE YEARS. Sara Zimorski, Tandi Perkins, Vladimir Dinets, and Sammy King 140
... We also recorded some noteworthy behavioral observations during this study. First, when they were capturing aquatic vertebrates, the Whooping Crane parents regularly defended their riverine foraging area against the additional adult-plumaged Whooping Crane through agonistic behavioral displays that we interpreted as territoriality (e.g., "pre-attack," per Ellis et al. 1998). Secondly, on 4 total occasions, the Whooping Crane parents assisted their colt in capturing a fish by first injuring it and then leaving the fish moving on the edge of a sandbar for the colt to claim. ...
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The Aransas-Wood Buffalo population of Whooping Cranes (Grus americana) migrates approximately 4000 km through the central Great Plains biannually, between their breeding and wintering grounds. Whooping Cranes depend on stopover sites to provide secure resting locations and the caloric resources necessary to complete their migration, such as the USFWS-designated critical habitat area in the Central Platte River Valley (CPRV) of Nebraska. This area includes braided river habitat characterized by low-elevation and submerged sandbars, which provide important roosting and foraging opportunities for migrating Whooping Cranes. We used long-range photography, videography, and behavioral scan sampling to document forage items consumed by Whooping Cranes during an 11-day stopover in this area during the fall of 2019. We identified 3 adult-plumage Whooping Cranes and 1 colt consuming 16 individual vertebrates of at least 6 different species during the stopover. In total, we documented Whooping Cranes consuming 7 Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), 5 ray-finned fish (Actinopterygii), 1 sunfish (Centrarchidae), 1 carp/minnow relative (Cypriniformes), 1 perch relative (Percidae), and 1 Leopard Frog relative (Lithobates sp.). We estimated prey item lengths using the average exposed culmen measurements for adult Whooping Cranes and approximated their nutritional value using log-transformed length–weight regression equations with taxon-specific intercepts and slopes from secondary data sources. We estimated that aquatic vertebrate forage made up a significant portion of Whooping Crane daily energy requirements and provided substantial amounts of calcium, phosphorus, and protein not present at high levels in waste grains also consumed during migration. Additionally, we documented territorial behavior by adult Whooping Cranes during migration and evidence of adults teaching their colt to forage. Our study demonstrates the utility of photography and videography to natural history research and indicates that aquatic vertebrates may be a relatively regular part of Whooping Crane diet in the CPRV. <https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol81/iss4/11/>
... Other research (Klenova, Volodin, and Volodina, 2008) has indicated that cranes can recognize their mate by vocal characteristics alone, which is not surprising, considering the remarkable acoustic complexity of crane vocalizations. An extensive comparative review of the behavior and vocalizations of the cranes of the world was provided by D. H. Ellis et al. (1998). The basic vocabulary of sandhill cranes was described by Nesbitt and Bradley (1997) and summarized by Gerber et al. (2014). ...
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This book provides basic information on cranes that should be of interest and importance to crane-loving birders (“craniacs”) as well as to ornithologists and wildlife managers. Primary consideration is given to the sandhill and whooping cranes, but all 13 of the Old World cranes are also discussed. Special consideration is given to the relative abundance and conservation status of all of the world’s species, of which nearly half are declining and a few are in real danger of long-term survival. More than 80 refuges and preserves in the United States and Canada, where the best chances of seeing cranes in the wild exist, are described, as are several zoos and bird parks with notable crane collections. Descriptions of 16 North American annual crane festivals and information on more than 50 birdfinding guides from regions, states, and provinces where cranes are most likely to be seen are included. Lastly, there is a sampling of American, European, and Oriental crane folklore, legends, and myths. The text contains more than 50,000 words and nearly 350 literature references. There are more than 40 drawings and 3 maps by the author and 19 color photographs by Thomas D. Mangelsen.
... The Whooping Crane appeared to be foraging in between 5 cm and 25 cm of water based on the level to which the tarsus was submerged in photos (tarsus length: female mean = 27.7 cm [n = 7], male mean = 28.1 cm [n = 15]; Johnsgard 1983; Fig. 2). We estimated that the Whooping Crane spent between 70% and 75% of its time foraging, with the remainder of its time dedicated to preening and interspecific agonistic behavior with Sandhill Cranes (see Ellis et al. 1998 for a description of agonistic be haviors). We identified all 5 fish consumed as juvenile channel catfish from a series of 19 photos taken by 2 photographers noting the following features: the presence of a forked caudal fin, the presence of an adipose fin, a lack of scales, the body-depth-to-length ratio, and the placement of pectoral fins (Page and Burr 2011;Fig. ...
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Stopover sites provide important forage resources and protection from predators to the Aransas-Wood Buffalo population of Whooping Cranes (Grus americana) as they migrate 4000 km across the Great Plains each spring and fall. Given the Whooping Crane’s expansive migration corridor, sensitivity to human disturbance, small population size, and protected status under the Endangered Species Act, it is challenging to gather detailed information regarding the particular forage resources that the cranes exploit at various stopover locations. On 22 March 2018 we observed and photo-documented an adult Whooping Crane consuming at least 5 individual juvenile channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) after it landed 100 m in front of our Sandhill Crane viewing blind on the south channel of the Platte River. Using the average exposed culmen length of an adult Whooping Crane for reference, we estimated that the length of the channel catfish ranged from 97 mm to 117 mm. Growth estimates developed from the Lower Platte River suggest that the depredated channel catfish were just over one year old. To the best of our knowledge, our observations represent the first definitive record of a Whooping Crane consuming fish in the Platte River, as well as the first record of a Whooping Crane depredating a channel catfish in the Great Plains. Given the relatively long distances at which Whooping Cranes are generally viewed (≥650 m), small-bodied fish may be a more common prey item during migration than indicated by current scientific literature. Our note demonstrates how wildlife photography and ecotourism can contribute to our understanding of species’ natural histories.
... During the behavioral coding of video data, we classified the pair dances into 14 behavioral elements based on previous studies (Masatomi and Kitagawa 1975;Ellis et al. 1998;Takeda and Kutsukake 2018; see Supplementary Appendix 1). Next, we coded the order, timing, and duration of all behavioral elements of both males and females from the video data using MPEG Streamclip (ver. ...
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Coordinated mutual displays by 2 individuals are believed to play important roles in social and sexual communication. Although previous studies have described mutual displays in birds, few have conducted quantitative analyses. To understand the role of mutual signals, we investigated the reproductive function of pair dances in the red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis). We used an information theory approach to quantify the characteristics of the pair dance and tested the classical "pair bond hypothesis," which states that the elaborate dance is related to reproductive success. We found that characteristics of the pair dances were related to reproductive success, but the results were not always consistent with the predictions. Dance duration increased as the breeding season approached. However, the past reproductive success of an individual was negatively related to dance coordination (i.e., mutual information) of a pair. These results partially support the pair bond hypothesis, but more importantly, also suggest the need to define the vague concept of a "pair bond" in a biologically reasonable, measurable way.
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Assessing animal behaviour is essential for understanding their relationship with the environment and assisting in the management and conservation of species in natural habitats, especially those that present large range distribution and occupy very dynamic environments. The Chilean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis, Aves: Phoenicopteridae) breeds in the temperate regions of South America, going from Ecuador to the south of Argentina, but moves to regions on the southern coast of Brazil and Uruguay during the non-breeding season. To understand activity patterns and behavioural variations on wild Chilean Flamingos in Brazil, we carried out monthly field trips to the Lagoa do Peixe National Park, on the middle coast of Rio Grande do Sul state, between May and November 2019, totalling 99.8 total hours of observation. Forty-one different behaviours were detected, divided into six categories: Feeding, Locomotion, Resting, Preening, Social Agonist and Social Non-Agonist. A significant variation in frequency, total duration and mean duration was detected for the behavioural categories over the months, mainly in the social categories, possibly indicating a strong influence of climatic aspects, such as temperature, rainfall and wind, but also of population aspects, such as flock density and stage of the reproductive cycle, in the behaviours observed in the lagoon. We also detected a variation in behavioural richness and active behaviours among the months, indicating that contranuptial areas like Lagoa do Peixe can be used for more than only feeding and resting.
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This paper provides the organizational framework, nomenclature, and abbreviated descriptions for all conspicuous nonsocial behavioral units for all 15 species of cranes. We present eight generalized functional classes of behavior. These classes include about 90 discrete motor patterns that constitute the nonsocial repertoire of all cranes. We present this compendium to facilitate information exchanges among students of crane behavior and to encourage interest in future detailed studies of the descriptive ethology of each species.
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The structure and context of 20 vocalizations given by adult or juvenile sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) are described. Purr calls were given under various circumstances (e.g., pre-flight, feeding, aggression) and communicated information over a short distance. Flight calls, guard calls, and urtison calls were full-voiced calls that carried information over greater distances. Calls given in flight were distinguishable from other calls. Guard calls were given in several different circumstances and served multiple functions; other calls were given in very specific contexts. Beyond the basic communication of information to other cranes, vocalizations may function in mate selection and in synchronizing physiological condition of pair members.
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We surveyed a Whooping Crane (Grus americana) genomic library enriched for repetitive clones, and isolated a clone whose insert hybridized stringently to a repeated-DNA family in the genomes of Whooping Cranes, but not Sandhill Cranes (G. canadensis). This tandem sequence, repeated approximately 500 times in the Whooping Crane genome, displays taxon-specific properties suggesting that the Common Crane (G. grus) is the Whooping Crane's nearest living relative. Low-stringency hybridizations with this repeat produced conserved patterns in all cranes except crowned-cranes (Balearica), which indicates an early divergence of the crowned-cranes and the remaining cranes. Sequence and DNA-hybridization analyses imply that this repeat is a satellite sequence of similar complexity and organization to the primate alphoid DNA-sequence family, which also has chromosome and species specificity.