Whooping Crane

Grus americana




Cranes (Gruidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Creamy olive buff marked with brown

Number of Eggs:

1 - 3

Incubation Days:

32 - 34

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On or above ground.

Nest Material:

Made of soft or coarse grass, reeds, or sod.





Whooping Crane: Large crane, nearly white except for red crown, black mask, and black primary feathers most visible in flight. Sexes are similar. Juvenile has rust-brown head and upper neck, and brown wash over mostly white body. Very rare bird near extinction.

Range and Habitat

Whooping Crane: Once widespread in North America, ranging from Utah across to New England and down the Atlantic coast. Currently the only self-sustaining wild population consists of about 440 birds that migrate between breeding grounds in northern Canada and wintering habitat on the Texas coast. Prefers grassy plains interspersed with marshes, numerous lakes, and ponds.

Breeding and Nesting

Whooping Crane: One to three large, creamy olive buff eggs with brown markings are laid in foot-high nest made of mud and vegetation built in an inaccessible marshy area. Incubation ranges from 32 to 34 days and is carried out by both parents. Pairs mate for life.

Foraging and Feeding

Whooping Crane: Feeds on berries, insects, snails, small fish, and sometimes carrion on breeding grounds. Eats crustaceans and other invertebrates found on tidal flats on wintering grounds.


Whooping Crane: Trumpet-like call that can be heard for several miles.

Similar Species

Whooping Crane: Sandhill Crane is gray overall. Great egrets are smaller, lack black on wings, and tuck necks in an "S" curve in flight.

The crown is the top part of the birds head.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X