Habitat loss and degradation are critical threats for the globally threatened White-naped Crane Grus vipio. We estimated the size of the area used per day and the time budgets of parental and non-parental White-naped Crane pairs in north-eastern Mongolia during 2000 and 2001. Six parental crane pairs used an area of 11–155 ha per day. The maximum distance of a focal parental crane from the roosting-site was 3,030 m. Habitat conservation measures for breeding White-naped Cranes need to be targeted to within at least 3 km of the roosting-site or nest-site. Parental cranes spent 79.6 ± 4.8% of the daylight period foraging and had reduced preening and resting behaviour to 4.4 ± 1.9%. Pairs without juveniles showed a pronounced period of resting and preening behaviour during midday, which was absent in parental cranes. This indicates that parental cranes may be time-stressed. We conclude that increases in feeding-related activities (e.g. caused by a decrease in food availability) are likely to be at the expense of parental vigilance. Conversely, increases in vigilance (due to e.g. increased disturbance) may have a negative impact on feeding-related activities. Both increases can potentially negatively affect reproductive success in this Vulnerable species.