Every winter, about 75.000 cranes goes to Extremadura. This region is nowadays the main winter habitat for the european crane. Cranes cover in three weeks 3.000 kilometers from their nesting habitats in the North of Europe.
The crane has the same size as the common stork. Feathers are cinder grey, except the head and neck that are black and white. In the top of its head is visible the reddish skin (red crown).
At the end of the summer, the cranes start the winter migration southwards, to Spain and Northern Africa.
About 70% of cranes going to Spain will stay in Extremadura from the end of October to February. This is more than 75.000 cranes visiting Extremadura every year.
The cranes feed on acorns and unharvested lands, and then, at the end of the day, they return to their roosting sites, near of dams and water zones.
There are many zones where they can be found:
1.- Alagón zone – Moraleja – Granadilla (2.000 to 2.500 cranes)
2.- Navalmoral area. Embalse de Valdecañas, Casatejada del Tiétar, Serrejón (3.000 cranes)
3.- Brozas. At the dehesas near Sierra de San Pedro (2.500 cranes)
4.- Almonte. Talaván y el embalse del Tozo (3.000 to 3.500 cranes)
5.- Plains of Cáceres. Embalse de Valdesalor (1.800 cranes)
6.- Badajoz Norte (north of Badajoz city) – Los Baldíos. Villar del Rey, La Roca de la Sierra, Esparragalejo (1.000 to 1.200 cranes)
7 y 8.- Tierras de Mérida, Vegas Altas, La Siberia and north of La Serena. Parque Natural de Cornalvo, Santa Amalia, Zorita, Orellana, Navalvillar de Pela, Valdecaballeros.. along the Guadiana river from Cornalvo, following the fertile lands towards the big dams zone at La Serena and La Siberia. And at the north-east of La Serena, at Cabeza del Buey, Zarza-Capilla and Siruela. It is the most important crane zone, the population can be up to 35.000 cranes.
9.- Alange area. Alange, Retamal, Hinojosa del Valle (2.000 to 2.500 cranes)
10.- Campiña Sur. Azuaga, Peraleda del Zaucejo, Ahillones, Monesterio (about 15.000 to 20.000 cranes).
11.- Olivenza area – Sierra Suroeste. La Albuera, Villanueva del Fresno (2.000 cranes)