Sandhill Crane

Grus canadensis




Cranes (Gruidae)

Code 4


Code 6



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Breeding Location:

Seashore, rocky or sandy, Open landscapes, Marshes, freshwater, Swamps

Breeding Type:

Monogamous, Mates for life

Breeding Population:

Common to fairly common

Egg Color:

Buff marked with olive, or olive marked with brown

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

28 - 32

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Material:

Dead sticks, moss, reeds, and grass.


Some migrate



Sandhill Crane: Large wading bird with gray body, white cheeks, and bright red cap. Bill is dark and eyes are yellow. Sexes are similar. Juvenile is mottled gray-and-brown, lacks red cap, and has yellow bill and dark eyes.

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.

Breeding and Nesting

Sandhill Crane: Two buff or olive eggs spotted with olive or brown are laid in a ground nest lined with stems and twigs, and built near water. Incubation ranges between 28 and 32 days and is carried out by both parents during the day, but only by the female at night.

Foraging and Feeding

Sandhill Crane: Eats grains, berries, small mammals, insects, snails, reptiles, and amphibians. Uses bill to probe for subsurface food and glean seeds and other foods; forages on land or in shallow marshes.


Sandhill Crane: Makes a loud bugling call, which can be heard before the bird is seen; also utters a loud, rattling "kar-r-r-r-o-o-o."

Similar Species

Sandhill Crane: Whooping Crane is white with black primaries.

The area on top of the head of the bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X