A. a. antigone
from India with the distinct white "collar"
The sarus crane
) is a large non-migratory crane
found in parts of the Indian Subcontinent
, Southeast Asia and Australia. The tallest of the flying birds, standing at a height of up to 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in), they are a conspicuous species of open wetlands
in south Asia, seasonally-flooded Dipterocarp
forests in south-east Asia, and Eucalyptus
-dominated woodlands and grasslands in Australia. The sarus crane is easily distinguished from other cranes in the region by the overall grey colour and the contrasting red head and upper neck. They forage on marshes
and shallow wetlands for roots, tubers, insects, crustaceans and small vertebrate prey. Like other cranes, they form long-lasting pair-bonds
and maintain territories within which they perform territorial and courtship displays
that include loud trumpeting, leaps and dance-like movements. In India they are considered symbols of marital fidelity, believed to mate for life and pine the loss of their mates even to the point of starving to death. The main breeding season is during the rainy season
, when the pair builds an enormous nest "island", a circular platform of reeds and grasses nearly two metres in diameter and high enough to stay above the shallow water surrounding it. Increased multi-season agriculture is often thought to have led to declines in Sarus crane numbers. However, more careful assessments show sarus crane numbers to have increased due to expansion of wet crops following the Green Revolution and the associated increases in artificial watering structures such as canals and reservoirs. The stronghold of the species is in India, where it is traditionally revered and lives in agricultural lands in close proximity to humans. Elsewhere, the species has been extirpated
in many parts of its former range
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