CRANE (Heb. עָגוּר, agur), the bird Grus grus (Megalornis grus), which passes over Israel twice a year, in autumn on its migration to Africa, and in spring on its return to Europe. At these times large flocks of cranes in arrowhead formation can be seen in the skies of Israel. Their name, based on Hebrew and Aramaic (kurkeyah), probably derives onomatopoetically from their cry. Hezekiah, king of Judah, says in his illness he cried out like a crane (Isa. 38:14), while Jeremiah (8:7) refers to the crane's precise knowledge of the times of its migrations. The gray crane is the tallest bird in Israel (55 in.; 140 cm.). It feeds on insects, worms, and water-plants, and resembles the stork, except that it is gray-colored and has a black neck.


E. Semali, Ẓipporim be-Yisrael (19592), 110–2; Tristram, Nat Hist, 239–41; J. Feliks, Animal World of the Bible (1962), 85.

[Jehuda Feliks]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.