Watch dancing cranes in Japan
Travel to the marshes of Kushiro Mire on the island of Hokkaido, northern Japan, to meet a bird that has inspired generations of human art and culture. Known locally as snow ballerinas, red-crowned cranes gather together in winter to dance amidst the falling snow. With distinctive red head feathers and black-tipped wings stretching 2.5 metres (8.2 feet) across, they dip, sway and strut across the ice.
One of only three species of white-feathered crane in the world, these birds shine brightest in the winter sun. Hidden among thick reeds during the summer, the cooler months are the best time to make a trip to see them dance. Amidst falling snow, pairs join together to bounce, leap and spread their wings, making calls back and forth to renew and strengthen their bonds.
At night the cranes take to the skies, heading off to roost in ice-free rivers. Then, as the Sun rises over the wintry landscape, they come out in their dozens to feed. Look for them in the still waters of marshes and rice paddies, where local people entice them over with meals of fish and corn.