Sandhill Crane

Grus canadensis
L 41″(104 cm) W 73″(185 cm).

Song or calls:
Loud rattling “gar-oo-oo.” 

Description: Sexes similar. Over 36″(90 cm) tall. Ash colored with red cap on forehead. Long legs and neck. Immatures have pale to tawny head and neck, and gray body mottled with brownish-red. Lack red cap. Flies with legs and neck outstretched.

sandhill crane
Habitat: Found during migration on slow moving rivers with bare sandbars and islands for roosting. Adjacent wet meadows and croplands are necessary for foraging.

Where in Nebraska: Abundant spring migrant along Platte Valley from Grand Island to Overton, and near Lewellen. Uncommon to rare elsewhere in the state. Less common fall migrant. Recently, concentrations of Sandhill Cranes have been seen near Harlan County Reservoir during spring migration.

Fun Facts: The Sandhill Crane does not breed until it is 2 to 7 years old and can live up to 20 years old!

juvenile Sandhill Crane - photo by NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Sandhill Crane - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)