Sandhill Specs

By Kurt Heine

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis)

sandhill crane in flight

Height: 3-5 ft

Weight: 6.5-14 lbs

Wingspan: 5-6 ft

Diet: tubers, grains, invertebrates (especially insects), small vertebrates (rodents, snakes, etc.), and alfalfa.


Average life span: 20 years


Grus canadensis canadensis (Lesser Sandhill)

Grus canadensis tabida (Greater Sandhill)

Grus canadensis rowani (Canadian Sandhill)

Grus canadensis pratensis (Florida Sandhill)

Grus canadensis pulla (Mississippi Sandhill)

Grus canadensis nesiotes (Cuban Sandhill)

Contact call: This soft, low pitched call is used to keep in contact with other cranes in heavy cover such as tall grasses.

Unison call: The unison call is uttered by pairs of cranes, usually standing close to each other. It reinforces the bond between pairs but can also be used by a pair to scare off potential predators.

Guard call: When a big group of sandhill cranes is sleeping or when they have paired up in breeding grounds, at least one crane is standing guard against predators. This is the call they make when they see or hear something threatening.


National Geographic

International Crane Foundation


One response to “Sandhill Specs

  1. Good start, Kurt. I think you’ll find your knowledge about cranes will expand with first-hand viewing, reading and interviewing. You are the master of sound!

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