Whooping Crane: Large crane, nearly white except for red crown, black mask, and black primary feathers most visible in flight. Feeds on frogs, fish, mollusks, small mammals and crustaceans, grain and roots of water plants. Direct flight, slow downward wing beat and a powerful flick on the upbeat.
Range and Habitat
Whooping Crane: Once widespread in North America, ranging from Utah across to New England and down the Atlantic coast. Currently the only self-sustaining wild population consists of about 145 birds that migrate between breeding grounds in northern Canada and wintering habitat on the Texas coast. Prefers grassy plains interspersed with marshes, numerous lakes, and ponds.
The Whooping Crane is an endagered species with populatons counts of less than three hundred. The only wild population has its breeding grounds in Alberta, Canada and spends its winters in Texas (in the United States). Its native habitat is Canada, the United States and Mexico, but numbers have declined to allow for only the single large flock. There are also more than one hundred birds in captivity. This is a species of water birds and it is always found in wetlands near freshwater lakes, marshes and pools or it can also be found in supratidal areas where there are lagoons and marine lakes. This species faces serious challenges including the spread of the West Nile Virus, natural predators and threats posed by human habitation and activities.
Whooping Cranes are the tallest birds in North America. Males stand nearly 5 five feet tall with a wingspan of up to 7.5 feet.
Collisions with power lines during migration are the main cause of death for adult cranes. Increasing numbers of cell phone towers present new hazards.
They normally lay two eggs but only raise one chick, so biologists have had some success removing the “extra” eggs, artificially incubating them, and raising them in captivity.
A group of cranes has many collective nouns, including a "construction", "dance", "sedge", "siege", and "swoop" of cranes.