There are six subspecies of Sandhill Crane. The sandhill in this photo is a most likely a Grus canadensis canadensis (lesser sandhill crane) , but may be a Grus canadensis rowani (Canadian sandhill crane, sometimes known as "intermediate" as it may be a gradation between the lesser and greater sandhill cranes ). These are large wading birds characterized by long legs, necks, and bills. A red patch of skin is found on the forehead and adults have a white cheek patch; the rest of the body it typically gray. However, breeding pairs often paint themselves with brown mud in spring, probably to better blend in with their surroundings during the nesting season.
Nests in wetlands, but often forages in upland areas. They range across North America and parts of eastern Russia.
The sandhill northward migration hesitates at Nebraska's Platte River. The birds roost here in vast numbers (up to 500-600,000 along a 40 mile stretch of the river) at night; during the day they feed in nearby agricultural fields. This is one of the great wildlife gatherings in North America.