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Sandhill Crane

Grus canadensis


Height: 80 cm-1.2 m, 3-5 ft Weight: 3-6.5 kg, 6.5-14 lbs Wingspan:5-6 ft. The different sub-species of Sandhill Crane vary greatly in size and weight. Body plumage is characterized by varying shades of gray. In many areas, wild Sandhills preen iron-rich mud into their feathers creating a deep rusty brown hue which lasts during spring and summer. As fall advances, these rusty feathers molt and the birds return to their grayish appearance. In some regions, however, iron-rich mud is absent and the birds appear grey all year. The forehead and crown are covered with reddish skin. Face, chin, upper throat, and nape are white to pale gray. Adults have a white cheek patch. Legs and toes are black. In general, males and females are virtually indistinguishable but within a breeding pair, males tend to be larger than females.


Found in a farming area with a few subdivisions scattered in the mix as well


These Sandhill crane were jumping not as part of any mating ritual, but simply to stir up the flying grasshoppers and other insects. Once there were enough in the air, they would take turns snapping their beaks and snagging them out of the air. When there were not enough bugs in the air and they did not feel like foraging, one would begin its jumping and dancing around and the others would begin to eat the bugs the other stirred up. It was quite a sight to behold, and something I watched the better part of a summer, all but at a much farther distance then I was able to get captures of for this spotting.

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Caleb Steindel
Caleb Steindel 10 years ago


Carol Milne
Carol Milne 11 years ago

What a great dancer. HA!

lildog01 11 years ago

We have lots of these in Florida, did not know they went so far north. Fantastic birds!

williefromwi 11 years ago

Thanks so very much for the kind words ShannaB. I look forward to seeing spottings from your part of the world as you continue to post yours.

RiekoS 11 years ago

Very beautiful!

ShannaB 11 years ago


CarolSnowMilne 11 years ago

Dancing lessons? So amazing!

nexttogone 11 years ago

I knew of the Sandhill Crane but not that much. Very interesting read and a great series!

birdlady6000 11 years ago

Thanks, I love this spotting and Sandhill Cranes!

williefromwi 11 years ago

Thanks all for your wonderful comments. Louisa, I have enjoyed watching sandhill crane do this both on this spotting and several others as well. It is always interesting to watch animals work as a team and help each other.

lori.tas 11 years ago

Lovely. I can still hear them in my head (even though I've moved to the other side of the world).

LuisStevens 11 years ago

Very good series

ScottHarte 11 years ago

Great series

MartinUrban 11 years ago

Amazing !

ceherzog 11 years ago


Louisa 11 years ago

That must have been some sight to see those bugs popping up in the! Great spotting and absolutely stunning images as usual!

Spotted by

Merton, Wisconsin, USA

Spotted on Jul 30, 2011
Submitted on Aug 15, 2012

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