Habitat & Range
There are six subspecies of cranes that vary according to region - the Mississippi, Cuban, Florida, Canadian, Lesser and Greater. Cranes prefer shallow, open marshlands that contain tall marsh grasses. The Cuban species has been known to inhabit dry, rocky and mountainous terrain. They range as far north as Canada and Alaska, are spread throughout the western and southern coasts of the United States, and inhabit areas in Mexico, Central and South America.
Sandhill cranes are brownish-gray birds with a red forehead, white cheeks and a long pointed bill. Immature cranes have brown feathers, orange bills, and lack the red skin patch. They tend to weigh between 7 to 11 pounds, and their wingspan measures 6 to 7 feet in length.
Sandhill cranes are omnivorous; they eat various types of food based on availability. They use their long necks and bills to forage for worms, frogs, salamanders, fish, small reptiles, aquatic plants, grasses, seeds, and berries.
Reproduction & Lifespan
Sandhill cranes typically raise one brood per year. Between 1 and 3 eggs are laid over the course of a few days, and incubation lasts between 29 and 32 days. Hatchlings leave the nest after 24 hours and reach full independence after 9 or 10 months old.
The crane’s average lifespan is 7 years in the wild; the oldest crane ever recorded lived for 21 years.
Fantastic Fact Crane Central
Sandhill cranes are social birds that are typically found in pairs or larger family groups. During migration, non-related cranes may congregate together at different locations throughout the winter. This may lead to thousands of cranes living together at a single time.
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