Average lifespan in the wild: 20 years
Size: Body, 31.5 to 47.2 in (80 to 120 cm); Wingspan, 5 to 6 ft (1.2 to 1.3 m)
Weight: 6.5 to 14 lbs (3 to 6.5 kg)
From their powerful calls to their intricate dances, cranes have enchanted people for centuries. These birds fly through Australian and Native American legends and European folklore, and some species are considered sacred in Asia. Cranes are large birds with long necks and legs, streamlined bodies, and long, rounded wings. Their size and graceful proportions make them easy to recognize by all. Cranes are some of the tallest birds in the world. In flight, their bodies form a straight line from their bills to their toes, presenting a beautiful, elegant image.
What does a Crane look like?
Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds. There are fifteen species. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Cranes live on all continents except Antarctica and South America. The birds are naturally gray and their heads are topped with a crimson crown. Some cranes clean themselves by adding mud to their feathers and thus taking on a temporary brown hue. This may happen because the birds use their beak to probe for food in muddy wetland soil.
Where do Cranes live?
Most sandhill cranes live in freshwater wetlands, feeding on plants, grains, mice, snakes, insects, and worms. Sandhill cranes usually nest in wetlands and create a structure from whatever plants may be at hand. Females typically lay two eggs, which both parents incubate. Males take responsibility for defending the nest.
What does a Crane eat?
They are opportunistic feeders that change their diet according to the season and their own nutrient requirements. They eat a range of items from suitably sized small rodents, fish, amphibians, and insects, to grain, berries, and plants. Cranes are omnivores that eat everything from snails to acorns to insects to snakes. They readily change their eating habits to take advantage of whatever is available.
Can cranes dance?
Yes they can! All cranes, young and old, join in with enthusiastic "dancing," often just for the fun of it! For the young, dancing helps to develop physical and social skills. In a flock of cranes, once a dance starts, it can quickly become contagious, with all the cranes joining in. Although dance patterns differ among crane species, all patterns have long, detailed sequences of coordinated bows, leaps, runs, and short flights. During a dance, the cranes will pick up sticks, grass, feathers, or whatever small objects are near, tossing them up into the air with their bills.
Download free Crane wallpapers, click on the image to open the large version.
Crane wallpaper 1
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Crane Coloring pages
Print free Crane coloring pages, click on the image to open the large version.