In 2010 -2011 a total of 368 black-necked cranes (grus nigricollis) were reported in Bhutan. 294 cranes were spotted in Phobjikha, 60 in Bumdeling, five in Khotokha, five in Lhuntse and four in Gelephu.
It was the first time that black-necked cranes were spotted in Gelephu while they have had reports of black-necked cranes in Lhuntse.
The crane’s usual habitats are Phobjikha, Bumdeling and Bumthang. The usual arrival time of the cranes is towards the last week of October and they stay till February. The arrival of the cranes signals the end of the harvesting season.
Black-necked cranes have a sacred identity in Bhutanese culture and it often appears in folklore, dances and historical texts.
The Royal Society for Protection of Nature has been working to protect and rebuild the population of Black-necked Cranes in Bhutan since 1987.
The cranes are the last one to be discovered of the 15 species of cranes in the world. About 500 out of estimated 11,000 global populations of the birds come to Bhutan every winter.