photo by Ann F 20190920 in Yellow Pine
photo by Local Color Photography 20150329 near Cascade
Size and Shape: Sandhill Cranes are very large, tall birds with a long neck, long legs, and very broad wings. The bulky body tapers into a slender neck; the short tail is covered by drooping feathers that form a “bustle.” The head is small and the bill is straight and longer than the head. About the same size, but considerably bulkier, than a Great Blue Heron. Smaller than a Whooping Crane.
Length: 47.2 in (120 cm)
Weight: 119.9-172.8 oz (3400-4900 g)
Wingspan: 78.7 in (200 cm)
Color Pattern: These are slate gray birds, often with a rusty wash on the upperparts. Adults have a pale cheek and red skin on the crown. Their legs are black. Juveniles are gray and rusty brown, without the pale cheek or red crown.
Sandhill Cranes breed in open wetland habitats surrounded by shrubs or trees. They nest in marshes, bogs, wet meadows, prairies, burned-over aspen stands, and other moist habitats, preferring those with standing water. Breeders gravitate toward the edges between wetland and upland habitats, while nonbreeders may prefer open, grassy sites. Sandhill Cranes winter in the southern U.S. and northern Mexico, roosting on shallow lakes or rivers at night and spending the day in irrigated croplands, pastures, grasslands, or wetlands.
Learn more about this bird: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Link to Birds Page