ABSTRACT

Cranes usually roost in shallow water, while large numbers of cranes roosting in a waterless environment are rarely reported. We document novel upland roosts used by the Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) wintering at Yongshan in northeast Yunnan, China. A total of 45 upland roost sites were recorded in the winters of 2012–2013 and 2013–2014. The roost sites were on upper slope positions (0.74 ± 0.17, 0.34–1.00) of steep mountain slopes (28 ± 5°, 20–40°) above stream valleys, with the roost at 95 ± 30 m, 32–175 m from the foot of its hill, and often had a platform or flat space (21 out of 45). The roost sites occurred in three habitats: shrub forest, grassy terrace, and natural grassland-bare land. We found that the pattern of roost site use is different from that of Black-necked Cranes in other wintering areas, as well as that of other species in the family Gruidae. This discovery suggests Black-necked Cranes may be more flexible and less reliant on wetlands for nocturnal roost use than we previously perceived. Further research on roost selection is needed to more thoroughly understand the behavior of the Black-necked Crane and for the conservation and management of this species.

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