Crane symbolism represents grace and wanderlust. The 15 species of cranes are on each continent except Antarctica and South America. These birds have made a spiritual impact worldwide and captured the attention of many.

What Does a Crane Symbolize?

Devotion and Faithfulness

Because of the loyalty cranes have to their mates, they are symbols of devotion and faithfulness. Cranes have elaborate courtship displays and never stop courting their mates.


The crane is a symbol of aspiration because of the challenging migrations they endure. The crane is the tallest flying bird as they can stand over 6 feet or 2 meters tall.


Many have been captivated by cranes’ grace and beauty, including photographers and artists. They have long and elegant necks and legs and beautiful plumage. As a symbol of grace, they inspire us to take a moment to reflect.


Because some crane species can travel thousands and thousands of miles, they are considered to be symbols of travel. They may reach altitudes of 24,000 feet, depending on the journey.


The crane is a symbol of transformation. Many crane species are shorebirds, meaning that they are born near water. Eventually, they mature to fly long distances, especially at high elevations. The crane reminds us that over our lifetime, we all have the power and potential to transform whether that is physically, mentally, or emotionally.

Longevity and Immortality

The crane symbolizes longevity and immortality in Asian cultures. The snowy white Siberian crane and the black-necked crane of Bhutan can live for up to 80 years. Since the life expectancy in Bhutan is around 72 years old, black-necked cranes can outlive humans by almost a decade.

Crane Symbolism and Spiritual Meanings


In Buddhism, the crane is a symbol of longevity, reincarnation, and bodhisattvas. A bodhisattva is a soul who has reached spiritual enlightenment but chooses to reincarnate and return to earth so that they can help others reach enlightenment. The crane reminds Buddhists of bodhisattvas due to how they leave and later return during migrations.

In one story, Prince Siddhartha came across an injured crane on palace grounds. The prince’s cousin Devadatta had shot the crane with a poisoned arrow. Feeling sympathy toward the bird, Siddharta removed the arrow and nursed the bird back to health.


The crane is a sacred bird in Hinduism, and they are held in high regard. They are associated with devotion, commitment, and harmony.


In ancient Egypt, the god Thoth has the head of a crane and the body of a man. He is the god of knowledge, mathematics, magic, and science. Some historians say that Thoth was inspired by the flying patterns of the crane when he created or invented hieroglyphics.


In Japan, the crane is sacred, and the crane is a symbol of peace, happiness, longevity, and purity. When you give someone something that portrays a crane, it means that you want that person to have a happy, healthy, and long life.


In Korea, some perform the crane dance. The crane is a symbol of eternal youth and peace. Many Koreans view the shared love of cranes as a sign that North and South Korea will unite someday. In fact, the DMZ between North and South Korea is a sanctuary for the red-crowned crane.

Native American Culture

In Native American cultures, the crane is considered to be a sacred bird. Their feathers are used in spiritual ceremonies. In the past, the crane was an important food source for many Native Americans. Outside of being a food source, they would use the bones of cranes to make tools.


In China, the crane symbolizes immortality and eternal youth. In some Chinese traditions, the crane is said to carry the souls of those who have passed. According to one Chinese myth, old pine trees will transform into trees due to both living for long periods of time.

Aboriginal Australia

For the ancient Aboriginal People of Australia, the crane symbolizes fertility and the cycles of life. They’re also courageous birds because they protect their territory. The Aboriginal People were inspired by the crane’s movements made during courtship and when they were defending their territory.


In Africa, the blue crane is the national bird of South Africa. The crane can help bring peace and order to the land. Zulu chiefs would also honor the crane by having its feathers as a part of their headpiece.


In India, Sarus cranes are honored. They are symbols of unconditional love, good fortune, and marital faithfulness. In India, some believe that crane pairs are soulmates, and if one dies, the other will die soon after as well.

 Middle East

In the Middle East, the crane is like the phoenix or the Simurgh, both of which are mythical birds. They are symbols of transformation and immortality. People in the Middle East have a strong reverence for cranes. This is indicated by Allah’s daughters Allat, Uzza, and Manat who are sometimes referred to as the “three exalted cranes.”

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