Sandhill crane (Grus canadensis)
We have three sandhill cranes, one male and two females. They came to the Zoo in 2011; two are wing-injured and one has a broken beak, so they are non-releasable.
Status in the Wild
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: Least concern. Loss and degradation of riverine and wetland ecosystems are the most
important threats to sandhill crane populations. For the migratory subspecies (Lesser, Greater and Canadian), this is of greatest concern in staging and wintering areas in the southern United States and northern Mexico.
Spring staging areas along the Platte River in Nebraska are of special
concern because of their importance to the migratory subspecies and the
development pressures facing this region. Approximately 80% of all sandhill cranes utilize a 75-mile stretch of the Platte River in spring
migration. Elsewhere, small breeding populations can face
disproportionate mortality on fall staging areas due to over-hunting.
Residential and commercial development pressures facing lands occupied
by birds belonging to non-migratory subspecies (Mississippi, Florida
and Cuban) also pose significant threats.
North America, except for the northeast U.S. Summers in the arctic of Alaska and Canada and winters in Florida, Texas, northern Mexico and southern California. Sandhill cranes live in open grasslands, wet meadows, freshwater marshes and bogs.
- Family groups may join together with non-mated cranes to form survival groups that feed and roost together at migratory stop-over sights.
- Some of these migratory stop-over sites may have as many as 40,000 birds.