The sandhill crane is naturally grey with a crimson crown topping its head. 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.
Distribution: Freshwater wetlands and grasslands of North America, from Canada to Mexico, and as far east as Siberia
Diet in the Wild: Plants, grains, snakes, mice, worms, insects
Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Grain
IUCN Red List Status: Least concern, population increasing
Some subspecies of sandhill cranes are migratory birds, journeying from Canada, Alaska and Siberia to wintering sites in California, Utah, Texas, Florida and Mexico.
Sometimes sandhill cranes will look like they have a reddish-brown tinge as opposed to their usual gray color. This occurs because the cranes will sometimes smear mud into their feathers while preening.