Biodiv Sci ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (11): 22093.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2022093

• Original Papers: Animal Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Analyzing the relative habitat use by Siberian cranes on migratory stopover sites: A traditional wetland species switching to croplands for food resources

Jie Gao1, Dehao Li1, Haibo Jiang1,*(), Guangyi Deng1, Chaofan Zhang2, Chunguang He1,*(), Peng Sun3   

  1. 1. State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Wetland Ecology and Vegetation Restoration; Key Laboratory for Vegetation Ecology, Ministry of Education, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130117
    2. Jilin Provincial Academy of Forestry Sciences, Changchun 130033
    3. Momoge National Nature Reserve of Jilin, Baicheng, Jilin 137000
  • Received:2022-02-26 Accepted:2022-06-16 Online:2022-11-20 Published:2022-09-29
  • Contact: Haibo Jiang,Chunguang He


Aims: Siberian crane (Grus leucogeranus) is a migratory, endangered species that uses the Songnen Plain as a main stopover area. Traditionally a wetland species, today most populations of Siberian cranes feed and rest during migratory stopovers in fields of corn (Zea mays). By examining the causes of this change in stopover habitat use, we can provide better protection for and potentially recovery of this declining species.

Methods: We recorded the numbers of Siberian cranes and both food resource and habitat usage on stopover sites on the Songnen Plain from September 2020 to November 2021 in the study area. These data were collected and analyzed using Google Earth, ArcGIS 10.7.

Results: Of the total number of Siberian cranes we observed, 72.7% were feeding on farmland, which was 2.66 times more than that of wetland habitats. Farmland has become the main feeding habitat for Siberian cranes. The total energy provided by farmland was 1.24-2.79 times as much as that provided by wetlands based on different harvesting methods, and the energy intake of Siberian cranes in farmland was about 1.56 times that of wetland. The daily feeding budget of Siberian cranes in farmland was 53.5% of their total time, which was 1.67 times more than that in wetlands. The feeding success rate in farmland was 1.56 times as much as that in wetland habitats.

Conclusions & Suggestions: The main reasons for the changes in feeding habitat use on migratory stopover sites by Siberian cranes may be attributed to the comprehensive effects of the change in water level, altered food resources, various feeding difficulties, and human disturbance. For effective protection and management of Siberian crane populations, we suggest that water supply be regulated to maintain wetland habitats on their migratory stopover sites to restore their main food source. It is also necessary to protect the agricultural land used by the species, and create a habitat refuge to support birds during their migration when they are particularly vulnerable to resource shortages.

Key words: Siberian crane, migratory stopover sites, farmland, wetland, food resource