Sandhill Crane

(Grus canadensis)


Animal Info

Seneca Park Zoo is home to a female sandhill crane named Zelda. Her habitat can be found in the Rocky Coasts area. Zelda came to the Zoo in 2011, and because of a broken beak, she was unable to be released.

Status in the Wild

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: Least concern. Loss and degradation of riverine and wetland ecosystems are the most important threats to sandhill crane populations. For the migratory subspecies (Lesser, Greater and Canadian), this is of greatest concern in staging and wintering areas in the southern United States and northern Mexico. Spring staging areas along the Platte River in Nebraska are of special concern because of their importance to the migratory subspecies and the development pressures facing this region. Approximately 80% of all sandhill cranes utilize a 75-mile stretch of the Platte River in spring migration. Elsewhere, small breeding populations can face disproportionate mortality on fall staging areas due to over-hunting. Residential and commercial development pressures facing lands occupied by birds belonging to non-migratory subspecies (Mississippi, Florida and Cuban) also pose significant threats.


North America, except for the northeast U.S.  Summers in the arctic of Alaska and Canada and winters in Florida, Texas, northern Mexico and southern California. Sandhill cranes live in open grasslands, wet meadows, freshwater marshes and bogs.


Sandhill cranes are omnivorous. Seeds, plant tubers, grains, berries, insects, worms, mice, snakes, lizards, frogs and crayfish comprise their diet. Unlike other wading birds, sandhill cranes do not fish.

Did you know?

Family groups may join together with non-mated cranes to form survival groups that feed and roost together at migratory stop-over sights.

Some of these migratory stop-over sites may have as many as 40,000 birds.

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