How Does a Whooping Crane Sound?

The adult crane's brood call to the chick means "It's okay. Follow me. All is well. Come along!"

Brood Call


Photo Vickie Henderson

Adult cranes make the Unison Call to say "This is our territory. We are a pair."

Unison Call


Photo Brian Johns

Try This! Journal Question

  • Read the information below and think about How you might be able to tell which is the male and which is the female in this photo of two Eastern Flock cranes doing the unison call. Explain your thinking.

The unison call is made by pair-bonded cranes. It gets its name because both the male and female call in unison with each other. This call is often used in the elaborate courtship dance rituals of crane pairs in spring. This loud call is also the way that a crane pair defends their territory. The unison call means Stay Away! This piece of marsh property is ours!

How It's Done
•The cranes stand tall and throw their heads back with beaks pointing upward. (This helps the sound carry for up to 3 kilometers across the marsh.)
• The male makes a continuous 'Whoooop.' In response the female flicks her head almost in a pumping action, giving two shorter whoops for every one of his.

Photo Sara Zimorski, ICF

Listen again to see if you hear both male and female. How did you do? See larger photo and compare your answer with ours. >>