Sandhill Crane

(Antigone canadensis)

Conservation Status
Sandhill Crane
Photo by Bill Reynolds
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern


N4B, N4N - Apparently Secure Breeding and Nonbreeding

S4B,SNRM - Apparently Secure Breeding, Unranked Migrant


not listed






42 to 48 in length

72 to 84 wingspan




Similar Species


Shallow marshes




Late March to early May and early September to early December












Uncommon breeder; uncommon to common migrant




The Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union All Seasons Species Occurrence Map

  Class Aves (birds)  


Gruiformes (cranes, rails, and allies)  


Gruidae (cranes)  


Antigone (antogone cranes)  

Sandhill Crane was formerly classified as Grus canadensis. A molecular phylogenetic study published in 2010 showed the genus Grus to be polyphyletic, not evolutionarily distinct. The species were rearranged into four evolutionarily distinct (monophyletic) genera, and Sandhill Crane was placed in the resurrected genus Antigone.


Subordinate Taxa


Canadian Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis rowani)

Cuban Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis nesiotes)

Florida Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis pratensis)

Greater Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis tabida)

Lesser Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis canadensis)

Mississippi Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis pulla)


Minnesota’s Sandhill Cranes are all of the subspecies Greater Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis tabida). There are five populations of the subspecies tabida in North America. They differ morphologically but have not been differentiated taxonomically. Two of the populations are resident in Minnesota. According to the Minnesota DNR, “...cranes in northwest Minnesota belong to the mid-continent population while those in central and east-central Minnesota belong to the eastern population.”




Grus canadensis











Visitor Photos

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Dan W. Andree

Sandhill Crane....

Rural Norman Co. Mn. Spring 2018….

  Sandhill Crane    

Sandhill Cranes rural Norman Co., Mn.

Seen them east of Twin Valley, Mn. Three together and they all started walking while I took their photo. A sign of Spring with their return.

  Sandhill Crane    
Bill Reynolds

Here is a Sandhill Crane in my backyard.

  Sandhill Crane    
Joel Motylinski
  Sandhill Crane    
Wayne Rasmussen

Sandhill Crane in wetlands of Sherburne Co

  Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge    
  Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge is located in the east central region of the state, approximately 50 miles northwest of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area and 30 miles southeast of St. Cloud. The refuge protects 30,700 acres of habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. Photos
  Sandhill Crane   Sandhill Crane
  Sandhill Crane   Sandhill Crane




  Sandhill Crane
JMC Nature Photos
  Sandhill Crane  
  Sandhill Cranes, 2012
Joshua Mayer
  Sandhill Cranes, 2012  
  Sandhill Crane
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
  Sandhill Crane  
  Sandhill Cranes
Craig A. Mullenbach
  Sandhill Cranes  
  Close-up look at the Sandhill cranes
Chicago Tribune

Uploaded on Dec 15, 2010

A special close-up look at the Sandhill cranes stopping over at the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area in Medaryville, Indiana.

  Nature Photography - Sandhill Cranes
Kristen Westlake

Uploaded on Sep 17, 2007 for pictures from my Sandhill crane Gallery.

The Sandhill Cranes at a flyway East of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.




Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Nebraska's Great Sandhill Crane Migration
Crane Trust

Published on Jan 12, 2013

Experience the wonder of Nebraska's Great Sandhill Crane Migration with the Crane Trust.

  Three Sandhill Cranes calling to cranes flying past

Uploaded on May 2, 2011

Three Sandhill Cranes, likely a family group of two adults and a juvenile, respond to the calls of a group of Sandhill Cranes flying past. This was filmed on May 1, 2011 in Far North Bicentennial Park, Anchorage, Alaska. The video starts with the likely juvenile Sandhill Crane hunting for Wood Frogs. The first call of the distant cranes is heard around 1:00. Where the two likely adults are first seen, the male is probably the one on the right. The entire calling episode is included.

  Sandhill Cranes Dance

Uploaded on Jan 30, 2011

This pair of Sandhill Cranes have taken up residence on our farm.

Dancing is emblematic of cranes. For birds that are usually cautious and often secretive, dancing draws attention and furthermore it is energy-expensive. Dancing is frequent in the lives of cranes because it establishes social relationships, announces territorial claims, cements decades-long pair bonding, and hastens the education of the young. It looks like fun and, sometimes, it may be play.


  Sandhill Cranes at Jasper-Pulaski FWA | Indiana DNR
Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Published on Nov 19, 2012

Jim Bergens, Property Manager at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area, discusses why Sandhill Cranes converge on Jasper-Pulaski FWA each year in the Fall and Spring and how to best view them. For more information about Jasper-Pulaski FWA, visit: and to learn more about Sandhill Cranes, visit:

  STUNNING Sandhill Crane Video Photography ! Explore Minnesota 2014 !
US Freedom Club

Published on Apr 26, 2014

BEAUTIFUL WILDLIFE MIDWEST USA Explore Minnesota Minnesota 2014

  Sandhill Cranes 2.. Minnesota River Valley National Wildlife Refuge 10/7

Published on Oct 8, 2012

The clouds are free only to go with the wind...

As in all migratory cranes, the spring journey to the Breeding grounds is far more urgent than the return in autumn. In a week or two, even the last Sandhills lift from the river bottoms, calling to their kind to follow as they circle higher into hard March skies, a few families of Whooping Cranes come from the south. Arriving later in the season, not lingering long, the unsociable whoopers ignore the last of the Sandhills clusters or chase them from their feeding grounds and roosts. Sandhills, like Whooping Cranes are diurnal migrants, taking advantage of the warm thermals and using "spiral gliding" flight wherever possible to conserve energy. Both species are thought to drive off their last year's young during spring migration, and since juveniles lack the reproductive urge that might propel them further north, they often wander. Forming orderly companies over the river valley, the circling Sandhills take their bearings on distant Breeding grounds in the sub-Arctic, fanning out like flights of mighty arrows. Many of the lesser Sandhill's will point toward the Yukon delta in the far northwest and the shine of the north Pacific....and some will cross the ice strewn water of the Bering Strait, gliding and soaring on cold Arctic winds toward the white horizons of Siberia..




Visitor Sightings
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Dan W. Andree
Spring 2018

Location: Rural Norman Co. Mn.

Sandhill Crane

Dan W. Andree

Location: east of Twin Valley, Mn

Three together and they all started walking while I took their photo. A sign of Spring with their return.

Sandhill Crane

Bill Reynolds

Location: Pennington County

Here is a Sandhill Crane in my backyard.

Sandhill Crane

Joel Motylinski

Location: Oakdale , Mn. Washington County

Sandhill Crane

Wayne Rasmussen

Location: Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge

Sandhill Crane in wetlands of Sherburne Co

Sandhill Crane





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