Sandhill Crane

Grus canadensis

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Mark Habdas

 

The Sandhill crane is one of 15 species of cranes in the world.
While the whooping crane is endangered, the Sandhill crane is not with an estimated population
of 650 000 in North America.  Six subspecies are identified:

 

Grus Canadensis Canadensis (Lesser Sandhill)

Grus Canadensis tabida (Greater Sandhill)

Grus Canadensis rowani (Canadian Sandhill)

Grus Canadensis pratensis (Florida Sandhill)

Grus Canadensis pulla (Mississippi Sandhill)

Grus Canadensis nesiotes (Cuban Sandhill)

 

Three of the subspecies are migratory which are the lesser, greater and Canadian.

Sandhill cranes mate for life, and their lifespan in the wild is about 12 years.

They preen themselves with iron-rich mud, giving these birds a rusty brown appearance for part
of the year.  When calling, they stand upright. While the female elevates her beak by about 45
degrees, the male lifts his beak up almost vertically.  They are omnivorous.