Sandhill Crane

Grus canadensis

Order

GRUIFORMES

Family

Cranes (Gruidae)

Code 4

SACR

Code 6

GRUCAN

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Sandhill Crane has a large range, estimated globally at 100,000 to 1,000,000 square kilometers. Native to China, Japan, Korea, Cuba, and North America, this bird prefers inland wetland or temperate grassland ecosystems. The global population of this bird is estimated at 520,000 to 530,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Sandhill Crane is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Sandhill Crane: This large wading bird has a gray body, white cheeks, chin, and upper throat, and a bright red cap. It has a dark bill, yellow eyes and black legs and feet. It has a direct steady flight on heavy and labored wing beats, with a slow down stroke and a rapid and jerky upstroke. Flies in V or straight line formations. Diet is heavy in seeds and cultivated grains. Sexes are similar.


Range and Habitat

Sandhill Crane: Breeds from Siberia and Alaska east across Canada to Hudson Bay and to western Ontario, with isolated populations in the Rocky Mountains, northern prairies, Great Lakes, and in Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida. Winters in California, and from Arizona to Florida. Prefers marshes, prairie ponds, and marshy tundra; also found on prairies and grain fields during migration.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"kar-r-r-r-o-o-o"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Sandhill Cranes are noted for their elaborate courtship displays. Two displays are used to form mating pairs while three other displays occur only between mates and serve to maintain the pair bond.
  • A crane fossil approximately ten million years old was found in Nebraska and is structurally identical to the modern Sandhill Crane, making it the oldest known bird species still surviving.
  • They frequently preen with vegetation and mud stained with iron oxide resulting in a reddish brown color rather than their natural gray.
  • A group of cranes has many collective nouns, including a "construction", "dance", "sedge", "siege", and "swoop" of cranes.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Sandhill Crane

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Santiago Cornejo

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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CapX
The area on top of the head of the bird.
ChinX
The area of the face just below the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X