Both species are between 85–100 cm long with wingspans up to 190 cm. They are birds of the dry, grassy uplands which feed on seeds and insects and spend little time in wetlands.
The demoiselle crane migrates to India and Africa in winter, and the blue crane is an altitudinal migrant, nesting in the upper grasslands and moving down to lower altitudes after breeding.
These tall birds are both mainly bluish grey in plumage. The blue crane has a white crown, and the demoiselle has black and white patterning on the head and neck. Both have dark flight feathers, but these are much blacker in the blue crane.
Like other cranes, the Anthropoides species give loud trumpeting calls, and have energetic dancing displays.