GRUIFORMES of North America

Gruiformes means "crane-like",  The order include 14 species of large cranes, about 145 species of smaller crakes and rails, as well as a variety of families comprising one to three species, such as the Heliornithidae, the limpkin, or the trumpeters.


Order Gruiformes    Family Gruidae

Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds . Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. They are opportunistic feeders that change their diet according to the season and their own nutrient requirements. They eat a range of items from suitably sized small rodents, fish, amphibians, and insects, to grain, berries, and plants. During breeding season cranes are territorial, other times they are sociable and form groups.

Genus Grus

Crane, Sandhill Grus canadensis   Found: North America, Asia (northeast Siberia)
The Sandhill Crane has mainly gray plumage; red forehead;  white cheeks; long dark bill. During breading season the gray is rusty stained. Juvenile has reddish-brown upperparts; lacks red forehead.
Image by:  1) tgreyfox   2, 4) Dick Daniels - Virginia  3) Dick - Virginia   5, 6) Dick - Florida
      7) Dick - Wyoming   8) Aron Lembke - Newport, North Carolina  9) David Daniels - Florida
1) Juvenile

Crane, Whooping Grus americana   Found: North America
The Whooping Crane has white plumage; red crown; long dark and pointed bill; black wing tips are visible in flight. Juvenile has cinnamon-brown plumage.
Image by: 1, 3) Dick Daniels - Sylvan Heights  2) John Noll, USDA- Texas  4) Sandy Cole - Sylvan Heights     5) Lyn Anynom   6) Steve Gifford, USFWD - Indiana  7)  Wisconsin Dept. of Nat. Resources
1) Juvenile  2) Family  7) From Wisconsin to Florida to introduce into wild
3, 4) The juvenile of 1) grew into this adult.

Back to Top