Paynes Prairie: Sandhill Crane

A Sandhill CraneThe Sandhill Crane winters regularly in Florida and on Paynes Prairie. The subspecies of this bird, the Mississippi Sandhill Crane, is considered to be an endangered species. It is because of the loss of wetland areas, like the prairie, that these birds are declining.

You can identify this bird as tall with very long legs. It also has a red forehead that is very distinct. They survive in large freshwater marshes, prairie ponds and on prairies and grainfields during migration and in winter. They are known to migrate for the winter in very large flocks. When they fly, they have their necks outstretched.

For their food, they do a great deal of digging with their bills. They tend to consume plants and animals, including worms, frogs, insects, roots and seeds. Whatever is most abundant at the time is what they tend to feed on.

Check out this bird's call (click on listen to this species on this page).

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