The sarus crane is the world's tallest flying bird. An adult male may stand up to six feet tall. The bare skin on the head and neck changes in color and intensity with the bird’s mood, providing another way for the cranes to communicate. These canes are very powerful fliers, and are most often seen flying in a line or V-formation. They are very hardy birds, able to survive severe winters.
Sarus cranes are the only resident breeding cranes in India and Southeast Asia. In many regions, especially areas dominated by the Hindu religion, local traditions and religious beliefs have protected the sarus crane. To the natives of India, the Sarus Crane is a symbol of a happy marriage. Crane pairs perform elaborate courtship dances, combining leaping, bowing, prancing, and calling in duet.
Despite protections the sarus crane is suffering a rapid population decline. Loss and degradation of wetlands due to agricultural expansion, industrial expansion, and pollutants continually threaten the survival of the sarus crane.