Yancheng Wetland: Why does the red-crowned crane represent longevity?

In Chinese folk myths and legends, red-crowned cranes are considered to be birds from heaven. They are a symbol of longevity, elegance and happiness. Many Chinese gods are portrayed riding the cranes and flying through the sky. What makes the red-crowned crane so special?

The red-crowned crane gains its name from a patch of red color on the crown. But don't be fooled, the red patch is not a feather but bare skin. The red-crowned crane has a snow-white body and tail feather, which give it a kind of noble and unsullied beauty. Its wing secondaries are black, but if it is standing, the wing secondaries look like its black tail. The male bird has black neck and check, while the female's color is grey. The red-crowned crane is among the largest cranes.

The family of the crane has 15 different species in total, and nine of them are in China. The red-crowned cranes in China mainly breed in northeastern provinces such as Heilongjiang. From late September to October, the birds start to migrate south and spend the winter in provinces such as Jiangsu and Shandong.

Yancheng Wetland in east China's Jiangsu Province is a paradise for the red-crowned cranes for wintering, not only because the water here never completely freezes over winter, but also the sufficient food and safe reeds as a habitat have provided the rare birds an ideal living environment.

(Cover image is a screenshot from the video.)

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