ANIMAL: Sandhill Crane Antigone canadensis Type of Animal: Crane Habitat: Prairie, sandhills, fields, marshes, tundra, grassland, bogs, river valleys, wetlands, plains, pastures, irrigated croplands, wet meadows, burned-over aspen stands, river basins, rivers, savanna, open fens, sedge meadows, cultivated areas, swamps, golf courses, suburban/urban subdivisions, airports Location(s): North America, E Asia, & W Cuba. Rare vagrants in British Isles. Appearance: Large tall long-necked, long-legged gray bird w/ small head/red forehead patch/long pointy bill Food/Diet: Seeds, grains, corn, crops, insects, insect larvae, grubs, worms, small mammals, birds, eggs, amphibians, fish, leeches, berries, tubers, succulent vegetation, aquatic plants, birdfeeder spill, reptiles, snails, fruit, nuts, roots, legumes, crayfish, mushrooms Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Breeding in zoos & wildlife centers. Extra monitoring of populations in SE US & Cuba. Protected by Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge established in 1975 has biggest release program on earth w/ 90% of cranes there raised in captivity. Audubon Institute’s Species Survival Center in Louisiana & White Oak Conservation in Yulee, Florida breeding/releasing critically endangered Mississippi subspecies. Lifestyle: Flocks range from 2-20,000 birds. Monogamous pairs territorial during breeding season. Additional Info: Called: Male: Cock Female: Hen Young: Chick/Colt Group: Flock Weight: Male: 8-12 lbs Female: 7-9.5 lbs Young: 1-1.5 lbs Gestation: 1 month Life Span: 20-25 years in wild, 30-40 years in captivity Height: Male: 4-5 ft Female: 3-4 ft Young: 0.9 ft Body Length: 3.5-4 ft, same for both sexes Tail Length: 3.9-10.4 in, same for both sexes Main predators of adults are eagles, canids, bears, felids, crocodilians, peregrine falcons, gyrfalcons, & large owls. Raccoons, raptors, corvids, gulls, & skunks prey on chicks & juveniles. These large birds have a 6-7 ft wingspan. Like other cranes, monogamous pairs known for courtship dances. Migratory crane populations nest in April & May. Nonmigratory populations nest from December to early March. Chicks stay w/ parents for 10-12 months, reaching sexual maturity a little after 12 months. While stable overall, Mississippi & Cuban subspecies critically endangered due to habitat loss, wetland loss, development, persecution as crop pests, & pollution. These cranes often preen themselves by rubbing mud on feathers. Like other cranes, these birds can be quite loud. Fun Fact(s): These birds can fly at speeds of up to 35 mph. Largest congregations of these birds occur from February to early April along/in Nebraska’s Platte River Valley. In fact, Nebraska town Kearney known as Sandhill Crane capital of the world & located in this region. More than half a million cranes make stopover in this area. Breeding pairs can be aggressive during breeding/nesting season, using bill/feet in attacks.