The sandhill crane is naturally grey with a crimson crown topping its head. Sometimes the crane may have a temporary brown hue due to mud from preening. To maintain a strong pair bond, the sandhill crane performs a variety of ritualistic mating behaviors, including bowing while stretching its wings upright and leaping. This crane spends much of its time on the ground and is excellent at walking and running. The sandhill crane is also a strong flyer.
Habitat: Open landscapes, marshy areas, rifts, bogs and landfills by shores of lakes and ponds in North America.
Diet in the wild: Grain, fruit, roots, insects, worms, snails, small vertebrates
Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Hard-boiled egg, lettuce, apple, meal worms and oyster shell
Size: 40-50 inches
Family: Cranes are monogamous (form permanent life-long pair bonds). Both the male and female build the nest, incubate the eggs and care for the young.
Status: Least Concern
Did you know? For about a month in March, over 500,000 cranes congregate in Nebraska on the Platte River basin to rest and eat before continuing their migration north.