Recovering from a low of only 21 birds in the wild in the 1940s to around 599 birds today, the Whooping Crane's recovery is one of conservation's most inspiring success stories.
Scientific Name: Grus americana
Height: 5 ft; Wingspan: 7-8 ft
Field Marks: Adults - red patch on forehead, black mustache and legs, black wing tips visible in flight; juveniles - cinnamon-brown feathers
Population: ~ 599 (captive and wild)
View table of historic Whooping Crane numbers
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Status: Endangered, but population increasing
Range: Two distinct migratory populations summer in northwestern Canada and central Wisconsin and winter along the Gulf Coast of Texas and the southeastern United States, respectively. Small, non-migratory populations live in central Florida and coastal Louisiana.
Diet: Plant tubers, blue crabs, small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects
Vocalizations: Loud, rattling kar-r-r-o-o-o. Listen to Whooping Crane calls:
|Contact Call A soft, purring call expressing reassurance and location.
||Guard A sharp, single call expressing alarm.
||Unison A duet performed by a pair, to strengthen their bond and protect their territory.
Threats: Loss or deterioration of critical wetland habitat (including reduced fresh water at wintering grounds in Texas), low genetic diversity, power line collisions, predation, disturbance at nest sites and illegal shooting.
What Can You Do? Make a special gift to support Whooping Crane conservation. Learn more about ICF's "Five Steps to Save Whooping Cranes" and follow our Whooping Crane Updates on our website and on Facebook.