Cinereous; occiput, throat, and fore part of the neck, dusky gray.
G. cinerea, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. 11. p. 557. Common Crane, Selb. Illust. vol. 11. p. 4. pl. 1. Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. 11. p. 3. Crane, Mont. Orn. Diet. (Trachea,) Linn. Trans, vol. iv. pl. 12. f.4.
Entire length five feet: length of the bill above four inches. Mont.
Forehead, and space between the bill and the eyes, covered with black bristly hairs; crown of the head naked, the skin of an orange-red colour: occiput, throat, and fore part of the neck, of a deep blackish gray; all the upper and under parts of the body dark ash-colour: quills, and greater coverts, black; secondaries and tertials elongated, and of an arched form, with the barbs of the feathers disunited, forming an elegant tuft of floating plumes capable of being erected or depressed at will: bill greenish black, the tip horn-colour: feet black. "Young birds, previously to the second autumnal moult, are without the naked patch on the crown of the head, or have it very small; the deep blackish tint on the occiput and fore part of the neck is simply indicated by a few longitudinal spots of that colour. In old individuals, a large whitish space is found behind the eyes, and on each side of the upper part of the neck." Temm. (Egg). Pale greenish olive ground, blotched and spotted with darker green and olive-brown: long. diam. four inches; trans, diam. two inches six lines.
According to Ray, this species was formerly met with in Cambridgeshire, in large flocks, during the winter months. In still earlier times it is stated by Turner to have bred in some of our fens. It must now be considered as an extremely rare and accidental visitant. Pennant makes mention of a single specimen which was killed in his time near Cambridge. One or two others are said to have occurred in Kent; and so recently as in the year 1828, an individual is recorded to have been killed in Cornwall. This last is now in the collection of Mr Drew, Devonport. (Loud. Mag. vol. m. p. 177). Is a common inhabitant of marshy plains in the eastern parts of Europe. Feeds on grain, aquatic plants, worms, and small reptiles. Said to build amongst rushes and other thick herbage, sometimes on the roofs of solitary nouses. Lays two eggs.