Whooping Crane Facts

At five feet tall, the whooping crane (Grus americana) is the tallest bird in North America. They are named for their whooping unison calls.

Males are almost 5 feet (1.5 m) high, with a wingspan of about 7.5 feet (2.4 m). Females are slightly smaller. Despite their height, these tall birds weigh only 11-16 pounds.

Whooping cranes live about 22-30 years in the wild.

Of the world's 15 crane species, endangered Whooping cranes are the rarest. In 1945-46, only 15 Whooping wild migratory cranes remained. The original flock migrates between Texas and northern Canada. It is called the main flock, the Wood-Buffalo/Aransas flock, or the Western flock. This flock has slowly grown to nearly 300 birds (2011 figure).

A new Eastern migratory flock is being reintroduced by a partnership of experts. The flock began in 2001. It migrates between Wisconsin and Florida. The conservation goal is 25 breeding pairs from 125 birds by 2020.

Image: Nick Cantu

Whooping Crane
Grus americana

Animal kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Gruiformes
Family: Gruidae
Genus: Grus
Species: Grus americana