White-naped crane by Nakdonggang National Institute of Biological ResourcesNakdonggang National Institute of Biological Resources
The White-naped cranes live only in Northeast Asia, and are actually rare migratory birds that visit the DMZ only in the winter. It is classified as an internationally endangered species and is designated as Level 2 Endangered Wildlife and Natural Monument in Korea.
Approximately 50% of the world's surviving population of White-naped cranes spend thier winter in Yeoncheon and Paju, neighbors of the DMZ. Their agricultrual lands are rich in food resources and rivers or resorvoris that provide ideal resting places for the birds.
The White-naped cranes are characterzied by their exposed reddish skin around the eyes and the gray feathers extending from the chest in a sharp V shape to the front of thier white necks.
The White-naped cranes mate for life. They live mainly in familiy units, but several families gather in each morning and evening to form colonies. Families do not sleep all at once but alternate to guard their colonies.
Because they live mainly in wetlands, they have to sleep in a partiuclar posture to maintain body temperature; they sleep with their heads buried in feathers and one leg raised.