The most common crane in
the world, Sandhill Cranes are best known in this area for their yearly stopover
during migration at the Platte River in south-central Nebraska, where 90% of the
world's population can be found in the early spring. Different races of
Sandhill Cranes may exhibit a fairly large variation in size. The most
common of the migrating races are generally stable or increasing in population,
but non-migratory populations in Mississippi and Cuba are endangered.
Habitat: Prefers to breed in or around a
variety of marshy areas. During winter and migration, they can spend much
of their time feeding on waste grain in agricultural fields.
Diet: Omnivorous, feeding on a wide variety of items
including waste grain, seeds, roots and other plant material, frogs, various
mollusks and crustaceans, small rodents, snakes, lizards, and large
insects. The diet can vary tremendously between locations and at different
Behavior: Gregarious outside of breeding season,
found in sometimes extremely large flocks. During breeding season,
family groups are typically scattered and distinct.
Nesting: Non-breeder in South Dakota
Migration: Summers throughout much of Canada, Alaska, the Great
Lakes region, and locally in the northwestern U.S. There also are breeding
populations in Siberia. Winters in the extreme southern U.S. and points
Similar Species: Generally distinctive. The
only other large crane normally found in South Dakota is the
in migration. The most similar would likely be the
Common Crane, a Eurasian species that has
sometimes strayed to North America, typically found within flocks of migrating
Conservation Status: Local (non-migratory) races in some
locations (such as Mississippi) are endangered. Most populations are
stable or increasing, however.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Sandhill Crane
eNature.com - Sandhill Crane
Photo Information: August 2007 -Yellowstone
National Park, Wyoming - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Sandhill Crane photos.