The Sandhill Crane is the most abundant species of cranes worldwide with a population of approximately 825,000 birds. Sandhill Cranes are large birds, with long legs and necks, long pointed beaks, and wingspans which can be over six feet. Adults are gray with red crowns. Juveniles are gray, washed with brown.
There are six species of Sandhill Cranes in North America, with three migratory and three non-migratory subspecies. Sandhill subspecies found in the mid-continent population, which we see at Kaska, are Lesser, Greater and Canadian. The Canadian subspecies is a mid-sized hybrid of Lesser and Greater Sandhills.
Lesser Sandhill Cranes are the smallest, weighing on average about 6-7 pounds and standing 3 – 3.5 feet tall. At the other end, greater Sandhill cranes are the largest sub-species and average 4.5 – 5 feet tall and 10 -14 pounds.