Species distribution models (SDMs) have become an essential tool in ecology, biogeography, evolution, and more recently, in conservation biology. How to generalize species distributions in large undersampled areas, especially with few samples, is a fundamental issue of SDMs. In order to explore this issue, we used the best available presence records for the Hooded Crane (Grus monacha, n=33), White-naped Crane (Grus vipio, n=40), and Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis, n=75) in China as three case studies, employing four powerful and commonly used machine learning algorithms to map the breeding distributions of the three species: TreeNet (Stochastic Gradient Boosting, Boosted Regression Tree Model), Random Forest, CART (Classification and Regression Tree) and Maxent (Maximum Entropy Models) Besides, we developed an ensemble forecast by averaging predicted probability of above four models results. Commonly-used model performance metrics (Area under ROC (AUC) and true skill statistic (TSS)) were employed to evaluate model accuracy. Latest satellite tracking data and compiled literature data were used as two independent testing datasets to confront model predictions. We found Random Forest demonstrated the best performance for the most assessment method, provided a better model fit to the testing data, and achieved better species range maps for each crane species in undersampled areas. Random Forest has been generally available for more than 20 years, and by now, has been known to perform extremely well in ecological predictions. However, while increasingly on the rise its potential is still widely underused in conservation, (spatial) ecological applications and for inference. Our results show that it informs ecological and biogeographical theories as well as being suitable for conservation applications, specifically when the study area is undersampled. This method helps to save model-selection time and effort, and it allows robust and rapid assessments and decisions for efficient conservation.