Sandhill Crane

Creature Features

Description                                                                                                                                                                                                Tall, heavy-bodied bird with a long neck and long legs. Drooping feathers form a “bustle” around its back end. Gray overall with some tan body feathers. Red crown.

Diet                                                                                                                                                                                                  Omnivorous, varies widely with location and season. Major food items include insects, roots of aquatic plants; also eat rodents, snails, frogs, lizards, snakes, nesting birds, berries, seeds.

Reproduction                                                                                                                                                                                    Although some start breeding at two years of age, sandhill cranes may reach the age of seven before breeding. They mate for life – which can mean two decades or more – and stay with their mates year-round. Juveniles stick close by their parents for 9 or 10 months after hatching.

Fun Facts 

  • Sandhill crane chicks can leave the nest within 8 hours of hatching, and are even capable of swimming.
  • Scientific Name: Antigone canadensis
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  •  Body Length: 47.2 in
  • Wing Span: 78.7 in
  • Weight: 6.5 to 14 pounds
  • Incubation: is by both sexes, 29 to 32 days
  • Number of Young: Usually 2, sometimes 1, rarely 3
  • Habitat: Prairies, grasslands and wetlands

Did You Know? 

  • Sandhill Cranes are known for their dancing skills. 
  • Courting cranes stretch their wings, pump their heads, bow and leap into the air in a graceful and energetic dance. 
  • The Crane’s call is a loud, rolling, trumpeting sound whose unique tone is a product of anatomy; they have long tracheas (windpipes) that coil into the sternum and help the sound develop a lower pitch and harmonics that add richness.