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."
Sandhill Crane: Whooping Crane is white with black primaries.