A very large, tall bird (when they’re not kneeling down), with long legs, neck and very broad wings. Their name comes from the habitat at the Platte River, on the edge of the Nebraska’s Sandhills in central US. This area is an extremely important stopover location for over 450,000 migrating Cranes.
When they migrate they often fly very high in the sky. At their stopover locations they form large flocks, in the tens of thousands and forage for food.
There are 3 subpopulations of the Sandhill Crane that are migratory, the lesser, greater, and Canadian. They all spend the summers in their breeding grounds and will winter in the south. They spend the winter in California, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and Mexico. Come spring they begin their migration, the largest congregation occurs along the Platte River in Nebraska.
There are 3 subpopulations of the Sandhills Crane that are non-migratory. Florida, where they can be found in the inland wetlands. Mississippi, where they will be found in the southeastern coast, these are critically endangered. Cuba, where they live exclusively in they wetlands, savannas and grasslands, these are also critically endangered!
Their diet consists of mostly seeds and cultivated grains, but they sometimes will eat small vertebrates and berries. Know to be opportunistic feeders, they will eat whatever food is available to them. They feed on land or in shallow marshes.