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Whooping Crane

Whooping Crane

Animal's Behavior

The whooping crane’s call is a major distinguishing characteristic, along with the bird’s impressive height (it is the tallest North American bird). Whooping cranes are monogamous and form life-long bonds with their mates. They nest on the ground and both parents raise the young.

Eating Habits

Frogs, small birds, berries, acorns, crawfish and snails—all provide food for the omnivorous whooping crane.

Range

The whooping crane is one of the rarest birds in North America. Today, there are only 400 birds surviving in wild from the 570 total birds remaining. While the range once extended throughout the middle of North America conservationists are working diligently to establish new populations in several locations.

Conservation Efforts

In 2007 the International Whooping Crane Recovery Plan called for the establishment of whooping crane populations (Wisconsin to Florida and Louisiana) to reach a goal of downlisting the species to “threatened.” However, estimates are that it will be at least 2035 before the population increases sufficiently to remove the majestic whooping crane from the endangered species list.

Animal Facts

  • Whooping cranes follow an ultralight aircraft each year to help them establish their migration route from Wisconsin to Florida.
  • The whooping crane has many predators when young, such as the fox, black bear, eagle and wolf. When grown, whooping cranes are subject to predation from bobcats.

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Quick Facts

Scientific Name

Grus americana

Classification

Animalia, Chordata, Aves, Gruiformes, Gruidae

Place of Birth

The historic breeding range of the whooping crane once encompassed the north-central United States and the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, with a separate breeding population in Louisiana.

Size

Five feet tall, weighing 14 – 17 lbs.

Color

White with a red crown.

Lifespan

22-24 years

Conservation Status

Endangered

Where to See

Audubon Zoo

Mailing address: Audubon Nature Institute 6500 Magazine St. New Orleans, LA 70118
800-774-7394
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