Today’s photo is of a flock of Demoiselle Cranes circling over Guda Bishnoi Lake approximately 25 kilometres from Jodphur, Rajasthan, India. The lake is also home to numerous mammal species including blackbuck and jackals.
The cranes use the area in winter after flying in from Siberia with the result that some locals refer to them as “Siberian Cranes”. The migration is an arduous one with the birds flying at altitudes up to 7,900 metres (26,000 feet) in order to cross over the Himalayas with many dying en route from fatigue, hunger and predation from golden eagles.
The Demoiselle Crane (Grus virgo) is the smallest of the crane species and is not considered to be a threatened species with its range extending from the Black Sea to Mongolia and North Eastern China. Whilst the birds from Asia, Mongolia and China will spend the winter in the Indian subcontinent, birds from western Eurasia will spend the winter in Africa.