sandhill cranes in arizona


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  • Location: Whitewater Draw, Arizona, United States
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  • Info: Live streaming webcam showing sandhill cranes at Whitewater Draw in Arizona, United States. The cranes arrive in October and stay until March or early April when they leave for their northern migration to the nesting grounds.

More Info: The overall plumage colour of sandhill cranes is grey, which often turns to a brownish-ochre colour around migration time. The bright red patch on the top of their head makes them easy to recognize at a distance. The unique call of the sandhill crane can be heard from miles away and the pitch and harmonics of their call come from long tracheas (windpipes) which have a coil at the lower end. Sandhill cranes are about three to four feet (0.9 to 1.2 meters) tall with a wingspan that can be more than five feet (1.5 meters).

Three subpopulations of sandhill cranes are migratory: the lesser, greater, and Canadian sandhill cranes. All of these spend winters in the south, in Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico. In the early spring, they begin the migration to their summer breeding grounds. Some sandhill cranes breed in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Others breed in Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska.

Three sub populations of sandhill cranes are non-migratory. The Mississippi sandhill crane which is found on the south eastern coast of Mississippi. The Florida sandhill crane which occurs in many inland wetlands of Florida and the Cuban sandhill crane which lives exclusively in savannas, wetlands, and grasslands in Cuba. Mississippi and Cuban sandhill cranes are critically endangered.

In the early spring, as sandhill cranes are migrating to their breeding grounds, single cranes will start pairing up. The loudest and most noticeable call made by a sandhill crane is during the mating season. Males and females will perform unison calling to create a bond.