GRUIFORMES of North America

The order Gruiformes contains a considerable number of living and extinct bird families with little in common. In fact, birds have been placed in this order just because it was not clear where else to put them! The rails, cranes, and limpkin are related and are considered part of the true Guiformes. However, the Bustards are unrelated to these true Guiformes.


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.

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