Large wader (approx 120 cm or 4 ft) with an also large wingspan (approx 220 cm or 7 ft). Slender. Long legs and neck, plumage of ash-grey tones in general, darker on the wings. Head and upper part of the neck in black, with white side stripes and red nape. Very long, pointed bill with a greenish grey hue. The adults show a plume of tail feathers. Characteristic flight with neck and legs stretched in groups organized in a V-shape.
Marshlands and wetlands, rice fields, crops, olive groves and grasslands.
Wintering species in the province, present between October and March. They come from Scandinavia, north and east of Europe, traveling on their migratory journeys to Malaga every year more than three thousand five hundred kilometers on the way and the same amount back. They breed from April, making an annual laying of two eggs. The nest is a kind of elevation located on the ground. It is an herbivorous species that feeds on roots, rhizomes and tubers and complements its diet in winter with acorns and cereal grains.
Only in the surroundings of the Fuente de Piedra Lagoon is it possible to see cranes in the province of Malaga (stage 18 of the Great Path).
Cranes offer one of the greatest spectacles of nature. Their displacements at dusk in flocks to their roosts, with their typical fanfare, between meadows and olive groves, is difficult to describe and much more pleasant to watch.