Grus (genus)

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Grus antigone - 01.jpg
Sarus crane, Grus antigone
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Gruiformes
Suborder: Grui
Family: Gruidae
Genus: Grus
Brisson, 1760

10, see text

The long coiled trachea that produces the trumpeting calls of cranes. Sandhill crane Grus canadensis.

Grus is a genus of large birds in the crane family.


Birdlife International and IUCN place the Siberian crane in monospecific Leucogeranus and place Grus vipio, Grus antigone, Grus canadensis and Grus rubicunda in genus Antigone and both are basal to the rest of genus Grus.

The Cuban flightless crane, Grus cubensis, became extinct in the Quaternary, but probably[verification needed] before human settlement of Cuba.

Fossil record[edit]

The fossil record of the genus stretches back some 12 million years or so. A considerable number of prehistoric species are known, with the oldest, Grus miocaenicus (Middle Miocene of Credinţa, Romania) perhaps not a crane but a junior synonym of the swimming-flamingo Palaelodus ambiguus; ("Grus" problematica certainly is). The Late Pleistocene Mediterranean Grus primigenia was hunted by stone age humans.

  • Grus afghana (Late Miocene of Molayan, Afghanistan) - doubtfully distinct from G. penteleci
  • Grus sp. 1 (Late Miocene of Love Bone Bed, USA)
  • Grus sp. 2 (Late Miocene of Love Bone Bed, USA)
  • Grus cf. antigone (Late Miocene/Early Pliocene of Lee Creek Mine, USA)
  • Grus nannodes (Late Miocene/Early Pliocene -? Edson Middle Pliocene of Sherman County, USA)
  • Grus sp. (Late Miocene/Early Pliocene of Lee Creek Mine, USA)
  • Grus haydeni (Late Miocene/Early Pliocene - Pleistocene? of WC USA) - 2 species, one may be same as G. canadensis
  • Grus penteleci (Late Miocene - Early Pliocene of C and SE Europe) - formerly in Pliogrus
  • Grus sp. (Late Pliocene of Puebla de Valverde, Spain)
  • Grus bogatshevi (Late Pleistocene of Azerbaijan) - doubtfully distinct form G. primigenia
  • Grus latipes (Shore Hills Late Pleistocene of Bermuda, W Atlantic) - formerly Baeopteryx
  • Maltese crane Grus melitensis (Late Pleistocene of Malta) - doubtfully distinct from G. primigenia
  • Grus pagei (Late Pleistocene of Rancho La Brea)
  • Grus primigenia (Late Pleistocene? of SW Europe)

Several other fossil gruiforms are now considered not to belong here. "Grus" prentici is now in Paragrus, "Grus" princeps, "Grus" excelsa and "Grus" hordwellianus are placed in Palaeogrus, and "Grus" excelsa in Balearica. "Grus" marshi belongs into Aletornis

More uncertain is the position of Probalearica (variously considered Late Oligocene to Middle Pliocene but probably Late Miocene) from Golboçica (Moldavia) and maybe elsewhere. It is usually regarded a nomen dubium but might belong into Grus. "Grus" conferta (Late Miocene/Early Pliocene of Contra Costa County, USA) is apparently too different from the modern genus to be placed herein, but its affiliations are not well resolved.