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Return to Wildlife Viewing Home PageWhoopers vs. Sandhill Cranes

Return to Sandhill Viewing Home Page Whooping Cranes | Whooper vs Sandhill Crane Facts |
Etiquette for Crane Watchers | Q & A | Where to watch Cranes | Crane Cam |Crane Events | Support |

  • Sandhill Crane: A grayish-brown bird with white cheeks and throats, and a prominent red crown. The crown, a patch of naked skin, starts at the base of the bill and extends to the top of the head. Most easily recognized by it's call, Sandhills can be heard up to 1/2 mile away. At midday, soaring "kettles" of cranes can often be heard but not seen due to their ability to ride thermals to an altitude of a couple thousand feet.

  • Whooping Crane: Stately white birds with black primaries and red foreheads. The whooping crane's haunting, resonant bugle results from one of the longest windpipers in the bird world. These birds have proven less adaptable than sandhills. They're more dependent on marshes, and they're less able to take advantage of the nutritional windfall of human crops. Whooper males can weigh over 17 pounds, making them one of the three largest cranes in the world.

Sandhill Crane

Crane Facts


Whooping Crane
3-4 feet Height 5 feet
6 feet Wingspan 7 1/2 feet
8-12 pounds Weight 14 pounds
170-450 miles/day Migration 200-500 miles/day
38 mph Flight Speed 47 mph
N. Canada, Alaska, Siberia Nesting Area N. Alberta, NW Territories
Texas, Mexico, New Mexico Wintering Area Aransas NWR (SE Texas)
Begins 3-4 years Mating Begins 5 years
2 per year Eggs 2 per year
20-40 years Lifespan 20-40 years
~500,000 Population (Wild) <200
Grus canadensis Scientific Name Grus americana

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