Eurasian Cranes

Back to projects

Eurasian cranes prefer large isolated wetland habitats though have adapted to smaller wetlands within a more cultivated wider landscape, they became extinct as a breeding bird in Great Britain in the 17th century. There is now a small breeding population on the Norfolk Broads, as well as wild cranes now resident at Pensthorpe.

Eurasian cranes also known as common cranes have suffered from habitat loss and fragmentation over their large breeding range which stretch from northern and western Europe across to eastern Siberia. Nest predation and nest disturbance is also a threat

Changes in land use, agricultural expansion and loss of many smaller foraging and roosting sites have all affected the Eurasian crane. During migration hunting and illegal shooting pose a significant threat.

Encroachment due to urbanisation, tourism and recreation can lead to nest disturbance and egg loss.

Actively Saving Species

The Great Crane Project was set up in June 2006 with project partners Pensthorpe Conservation Trust, RSPB and Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust initially to undertake feasibility studies on possible release sites and their long-term requirements.

The Project aimed to re-establish this iconic wetland species to the UK and succeeded in releasing 93 Eurasian cranes on the Somerset Levels & Moors.

The next phase is monitoring the numerous breeding attempts and successful rearing and fledging of chicks since 2015.

We need your help

The Eurasian cranes at Pensthorpe include three males – Dennis, Pippin and Merry who all underwent ground-breaking surgery to remove cataracts which had made them unsuitable for release as part of the Great Crane Project. All support received assists us with our ongoing work with these magnificent birds.