It is a very large crane, averaging 156 cm (5 ft) in length, which is found in freshwater marshes and plains. Adults are grey with a bare red head and white crown and a long dark pointed bill. In flight, the long neck is kept straight and the black wing tips can be seen; their long red or pink legs trail behind them. The sexes do not differ in color, but young birds are duller and browner. On average the male is larger than the female; Indian males can attain a maximum height of approximately 200 cm (6.6 ft), with a wingspan of 250 cm (8.5 ft), making them the world's tallest living flying bird. The average weight is 7.3 kg.
Listed in DNPWC 2029 Act Appendix I, CITES Appendix I and IUCN Red Data Book as lower risk/near threatened.