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Merlin Bird ID

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    Whooping Crane

    Silhouette CranesCranes

    Whooping Crane

    Grus americana
    • ORDER: Gruiformes
    • FAMILY: Gruidae
    Basic Description

    The Whooping Crane is the tallest bird in North America and one of the most awe-inspiring, with its snowy white plumage, crimson cap, bugling call, and graceful courtship dance. It's also among our rarest birds and a testament to the tenacity and creativity of conservation biologists. The species declined to around 20 birds in the 1940s but, through captive breeding, wetland management, and an innovative program that teaches young cranes how to migrate, numbers have risen to about 600 today.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for Whooping CraneRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

    Find This Bird

    The best place to find Whooping Cranes is during winter at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Texas. In summer, this population breeds in remote Wood Buffalo National Park, Canada. During migration, you may find Whooping Cranes at classic stopover sites such as Nebraska’s Platte River. Look for Whooping Cranes among much larger numbers of Sandhill Cranes, which are themselves a thrilling sight for a bird watcher.

    Other Names
    • Grulla Blanca (Spanish)
    • Grue blanche (French)
    • Cool Facts