Sandhill cranes are one of the oldest living bird species in the world. They have long legs and necks and can stand over one metre tall. Their grey back is often stained with rust colours, and their wingspan can be up to two metres. They have a bald red patch on their head behind their sharp beak.
Range & Habitat
They are found in northern Eurasia, North America, and Cuba. They pass through B.C. when they are migrating from the north to spend winter in Mexico. They spend most of their time in fields and marshes where they can find food.
Diet & Behaviour
They eat plants, including berries and lichens, but also small animals and insects. Sandhill cranes sleep and nest beside deep water to protect themselves from predators. They are very territorial and will fight for a nesting spot.
Lifecycle & Threats
Sandhill cranes mate for life. Crane pairs do a very complicated dance before breeding. The female lays two eggs in a nest built out of grasses. In B.C., Sandhill Cranes are mostly threatened by human disturbance and development. Their populations in B.C. have decreased in number because humans are developing bogs and swamps that the cranes use for nesting.
COSEWIC: Not at Risk
Photo: Chuq VonRospach