Family Cranes (Gruidae)

Least Concern

Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis)


French: Grue du Canada German: Kanadakranich Spanish: Grulla canadiense

Ardea canadensis


, 1758,

Hudson Bay, Canada


Nominate, rowani and tabida may form a cline, with gradual changes in morphology, and random pairing among them; these three intergrade along limits of their ranges. Race tabida subdivided into five populations, among which morphological differences are noted, but not analysed in taxonomic terms. Race rowani sometimes considered undiagnosable, but probably separable#R. Validity of pulla has been questioned; based mainly on colour differences from pratensis, but remnant population (in Mississippi) was probably more widespread in the past, and likely to have intergraded with pratensis. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. c. canadensis (Linnaeus, 1758) – Arctic and subarctic North America and E Siberia; winters in SW USA and NC Mexico.
  • A. c. rowani (Walkinshaw, 1965) – subarctic Canada from British Columbia E to N Ontario; winters on Texas coast of Gulf of Mexico, and in SW USA and NC Mexico.
  • A. c. tabida (J. L. Peters, 1925) – five breeding populations in mid-continental North America from Vancouver I to Great Lakes region; winters in S USA (from California to Georgia and Florida) and in NC Mexico.
  • A. c. pulla (Aldrich, 1972) – SE Mississippi, in S USA.
  • A. c. pratensis (F. A. A. Meyer, 1794) – SE Georgia and Florida, in S USA.
  • A. c. nesiotes (Bangs & Zappey, 1905) – Cuba and I of Pines.
  • Descriptive notes

    95–120 cm; mean weight ranges from male 3750 g and female 3350 g in canadensis, to male 5390 g and female 4300 g in tabida; wingspan 160–210 cm. Grey... read more


    Calls are loud, low-pitched and rattling.


    Mainly in open wetlands, shallow marshes and wet meadows. During breeding season, the three... read more

    Food and feeding

    Omnivorous. Diet highly varied depending on season and location; common items include tubers, corms, berries, acorns, waste corn and other... read more


    Generally in spring, but more variable in S races: Apr–Jun in N populations; Mar–Apr in Mississippi; mainly Jan–Mar in... read more


    Southern races pulla, pratensis and nesiotis are... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Global population increasing and estimated at well over 600,000 birds, making it the most abundant of all cranes. The... read more

    Recommended citation

    Archibald, G.W., Meine, C.D. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 January 2020).