Sandhill crane

Sandhill crane

Grus canadensis

At the Detroit Zoo

Three male sandhill cranes found sanctuary at the Detroit Zoo after being rescued and rehabilitated. One of the cranes was found as a chick in 2002 with a wing problem. Rescuers determined he would not survive in the wild. The second crane was rescued in 2015 with a badly injured wing. His injuries required amputation of the wing tip, leaving him unable to fly. The most recent rescued took place in 2021. This bird was found with a rubber band wrapped tightly around his lower beak, which had constricted and cut off blood supply to the area and caused the beak to crack and break off. Because of this injury, he would not have survived in the wild. A prosthetic beak is being created, but until then he is being given a special diet and has learned a new way to eat. The sandhill cranes can be found in a grassy habitat with a pond west of Buddy’s Pizza.


Sandhill cranes are large-bodied birds with an impressive wingspan, long black legs, long necks and short bills. They have grey plumage on their bodies, becoming white or paler grey on their faces, chins and upper throats, and a patch of bald red skin on the top of their heads.

Fun Facts

  • Sandhill cranes are the most abundant crane species on Earth, renowned for their spectacular mass migrations.

  • Even though sandhill cranes chicks fledge at around 67 to 75 days, they do not become independent of the parents until they are 9 to 10 months old.