Grus americana - (Linnaeus, 1758)
Whooping Crane
Other English Common Names: whooping crane
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Grus americana (Linnaeus, 1758) (TSN 176176)
French Common Names: grue blanche
Spanish Common Names: Grulla Blanca
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.102973
Element Code: ABNMK01030
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Wading Birds
Image 12069

Public Domain

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Gruiformes Gruidae Grus
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Grus americana
Taxonomic Comments: Based on DNA data, Grus grus, G. americana, G. monachus, and G. nigricollis form a monophyletic lineage apart from G. japonicus (Krajewski and Fetzner 1994), and the closest living relative of G. americana may be G. grus (Love and Deininger 1992).

Grus americana exhibits low mtDNA diversity; may have a single mtDNA haplotype (Snowbank and Krajewski 1995).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 08Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 25Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: One self-sustaining population nests in Canada, winters primarily along the Texas coast; two additional reintroduced populations (one migrates Wisconsin-Florida, one nonmigratory in Florida); historically much more widespread; total wild population in 2006 was 338; with about 135 in captive flocks; numbers increasing; problems include habitat degradation, low productivity associated with drought, and mortality from collisions with powerlines along lengthy migratory route.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1N (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N1B,N1M (28Aug2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Arkansas (SX), Florida (SNR), Georgia (S1), Illinois (SX), Iowa (SXB), Kansas (S1N), Kentucky (SXN), Louisiana (SH), Minnesota (SXB,SNRM), Montana (S1M), Nebraska (S1), North Dakota (SX), Oklahoma (SU), South Dakota (SNA), Tennessee (SX), Texas (S1), Utah (SX), Wisconsin (SXB)
Canada Alberta (S1B), Manitoba (SXB), Northwest Territories (S1B), Ontario (SNA), Saskatchewan (SXB,S1M)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LE, XN: Listed endangered, nonessential experimental population (11Mar1967)
Comments on USESA: The FWS is currently monitoring the following populations of the Whooping crane as of Feb. 2012:

Listing status: Endangered
Population location: Entire, except where listed as an experimental population

Listing status: Experimental Population, Non-Essential
Population location: U.S.A. (CO, ID, FL, NM, UT, and the western half of Wyoming)

Listing status: Experimental Population, Non-Essential
Population location: U.S.A (Southwestern Louisiana)

Listing status: Experimental Population, Non-Essential
Population location: U.S.A.(AL, AR, GA, IL, IN, IA, KY, LA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NC, OH, SC, TN, VA, WI, WV)

Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA) Schedule 1/Annexe 1 Status: E (05Jun2003)
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Endangered (25Apr2010)
Comments on COSEWIC: Reason for designation: Canada is home to 100% of the naturally-occurring global breeding population of this species. Although never common, its population dipped to only 14 adult birds early in the last century, at which point the species was at the brink of extinction. Conservation efforts in Canada and the U.S. not only rescued the remnant population from extinction, but later resulted in population increases. To help ensure persistence of the species, efforts to establish wild flocks of captive-bred individuals outside Canada have been underway for several decades. Nevertheless, Canada's breeding population is still very small and is confined to a limited breeding area and only one wintering location. This situation exposes it to catastrophic natural events (e.g. droughts, hurricanes) and a variety of ongoing anthropogenic threats (e.g. loss and degradation of coastal wetland habitats on the wintering grounds, oil spills in coastal areas, and collisions with power lines and structures during migration). Last, because of delayed sexual maturity and a naturally low annual reproductive output, the population of this species has an inherently weak capacity to rebound from pressures that reduce survivorship or reproductive success.

Status history: Designated Endangered in April 1978. Status re-examined and confirmed in November 2000 and in April 2010.

IUCN Red List Category: EN - Endangered
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Protection Status (CITES): Appendix I

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 1000-5000 square km (about 400-2000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: The historical range extended from the Arctic coast of North Amercica south to central Mexico, and from Utah east to New Jersey, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida; in the 19th and 20th centuries, nesting occurred principally in the region extending from central Canada to the north-central United States (see CWS and USFWS 2007). Current distribution includes just three populations: (1) the Aransas-Wood Buffalo National Park Population that nests in Wood Buffalo National Park and adjacent areas in Canada (south-central Mackenzie and adjacent northern Alberta) and winters in coastal marshes in Texas, with significant migration stopovers in southern Saskatchewan, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma; (2) a reintroduced non-migratory Florida Population that occurs in central Florida; and (3) a reintroduced Eastern Migratory Population that migrates between Wisconsin (Necedah National Wildlife Refuge) and Florida (Chassahowitzka NWR) (CWS and USFWS 2007).

Extent of occurrence (breeding) appears to be less than 5,000 square kilometers.

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: Three populations currently exist (see Range Extent comments).

Population Size: 50 - 250 individuals
Population Size Comments: The total wild population in February 2006 was estimated at 338. Fewer than 250 are mature in the only self-sustaining population; for example, in 2005, 58 of the 72 known adult pairs in the Canadian population nested (Brian Johns, CWS, pers. comm.).

The February 2006 population included: 215 individuals in the only self-sustaining Aransas-Wood Buffalo National Park Population that nests in Wood Buffalo National Park and adjacent areas in Canada and winters in coastal marshes in Texas; 59 captive-raised individuals released in an effort to establish a non-migratory Florida Population in central Florida; and 64 individuals introduced between 2001 and 2005 that migrate between Wisconsin and Florida in an eastern migratory population. The last remaining wild bird in the reintroduced Rocky Mountain Population died in the spring, 2002. The captive population contained 135 birds in February, 2006, with annual production from the Calgary Zoo, International Crane Foundation, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Species Survival Center, and the San Antonio Zoo. The total population of wild and captive whooping cranes in February, 2006, was 473.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very few (1-3)
Viability/Integrity Comments: One population has good viability. The Aransas-Wood Buffalo National Park Population is self-sustaining; the Florida Population has begun to nest successfully but is not yet self-sustaining; the Eastern Migratory Population (Wisconsin-Florida) is establishing a migratory pattern but has not yet produced young (CWS and USFWS 2007).

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Historically, population declines were caused by shooting and destruction of nesting habitat in the prairies from agricultural development. The species was listed as endangered because of low population numbers, slow reproductive potential (sexual maturity is delayed and pairs average less than 1 chick annually), cyclic nesting and wintering habitat suitability, a hazardous 4,000 km migration route that is traversed twice annually, and many human pressures on the wintering grounds. Current threats to wild cranes include collisions with manmade objects such as power lines and fences, accidental shooting, predators (especially predation of flightless chicks), disease (avian tuberculosis has been documented in the Aransas-Wood Buffalo population, and both West Nile virus and H5N1 avian influenza virus are emerging new threats of unknown proportion to both captive and wild populations), habitat destruction and contamination, severe weather, and a loss of two-thirds of the original genetic material. Threats to the captive flock include disease, accidents, and limited genetic material. [Source: CWS and USFWS 2007]

Short-term Trend: Increase of >10%
Short-term Trend Comments: Wild population increased from a few dozen to a few hundred over the past three generations (generation time = 13 years; Gil de Weir 2006).

Long-term Trend: Decline of >90%
Long-term Trend Comments: Historically, population size may have been as high as 10,000 (see CWS and USFWS 2007). A low point came in the mid-1900s when there were fewer than 50 whooping cranes in North America prior to 1968, with an all-time low of 21 as recently as 1954 (CWS and USFWS 2007). With management the total wild population is now a few hundred. Annual growth of the population during the past 65 years has averaged 4.5% per year (CWS and USFWS 2007).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Protection Needs: Most EOs already are protected. Could extend winter refuge boundaries in Aransas N.W.R. to include Mustard Lake.

Distribution
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Global Range: (1000-5000 square km (about 400-2000 square miles)) The historical range extended from the Arctic coast of North Amercica south to central Mexico, and from Utah east to New Jersey, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida; in the 19th and 20th centuries, nesting occurred principally in the region extending from central Canada to the north-central United States (see CWS and USFWS 2007). Current distribution includes just three populations: (1) the Aransas-Wood Buffalo National Park Population that nests in Wood Buffalo National Park and adjacent areas in Canada (south-central Mackenzie and adjacent northern Alberta) and winters in coastal marshes in Texas, with significant migration stopovers in southern Saskatchewan, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma; (2) a reintroduced non-migratory Florida Population that occurs in central Florida; and (3) a reintroduced Eastern Migratory Population that migrates between Wisconsin (Necedah National Wildlife Refuge) and Florida (Chassahowitzka NWR) (CWS and USFWS 2007).

Extent of occurrence (breeding) appears to be less than 5,000 square kilometers.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations, but breeds in a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ARextirpated, FL, GA, IAextirpated, ILextirpated, KS, KYextirpated, LA, MNextirpated, MT, NDextirpated, NE, OK, SD, TNextirpated, TX, UTextirpated, WIextirpated
Canada AB, MBextirpated, NT, ON, SKextirpated

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002; WILDSPACETM 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
FL Lake (12069), Osceola (12097)
ID Teton (16081)
KS Barton (20009), Reno (20155), Rice (20159), Stafford (20185)
MT Richland (30083), Roosevelt (30085), Sheridan (30091), Wibaux (30109)
ND Burke (38013)*, Burleigh (38015)*, Divide (38023)*, Dunn (38025)*, Emmons (38029)*, Kidder (38043)*, McHenry (38049)*, McKenzie (38053)*, McLean (38055)*, Mercer (38057)*, Mountrail (38061)*, Stutsman (38093)*, Ward (38101)*, Williams (38105)*
NE Adams (31001), Antelope (31003), Blaine (31009), Box Butte (31013), Brown (31017), Buffalo (31019), Cherry (31031), Cheyenne (31033), Custer (31041), Dawes (31045), Dawson (31047), Franklin (31061), Frontier (31063), Furnas (31065), Garden (31069), Garfield (31071), Gosper (31073), Grant (31075)*, Hall (31079), Hamilton (31081), Harlan (31083), Holt (31089), Howard (31093), Kearney (31099), Keith (31101)*, Keya Paha (31103), Knox (31107), Lincoln (31111), Logan (31113), Loup (31115), Merrick (31121), Nance (31125), Nuckolls (31129), Perkins (31135), Phelps (31137), Rock (31149), Saline (31151), Sheridan (31161), Sherman (31163), Thomas (31171)*, Valley (31175), Webster (31181), Wheeler (31183)
OK Alfalfa (40003), Beaver (40007), Blaine (40011), Caddo (40015), Canadian (40017), Comanche (40031), Cotton (40033), Custer (40039), Dewey (40043), Ellis (40045), Garfield (40047), Grant (40053), Greer (40055), Jackson (40065), Jefferson (40067), Kay (40071), Kingfisher (40073), Kiowa (40075), Logan (40083), Love (40085), Major (40093), Oklahoma (40109), Osage (40113), Pawnee (40117), Payne (40119), Roger Mills (40129), Stephens (40137), Texas (40139), Tillman (40141), Washington (40147), Woods (40151), Woodward (40153)
SD Aurora (46003), Beadle (46005), Bennett (46007), Brookings (46011), Brule (46015), Buffalo (46017), Butte (46019), Campbell (46021), Charles Mix (46023), Codington (46029)*, Corson (46031), Davison (46035), Dewey (46041), Douglas (46043)*, Edmunds (46045), Gregory (46053), Haakon (46055), Hand (46059), Hughes (46065), Hyde (46069), Jackson (46071), Kingsbury (46077), Lyman (46085), McPherson (46089), Meade (46093), Mellette (46095), Pennington (46103), Perkins (46105), Potter (46107), Sanborn (46111), Spink (46115), Stanley (46117), Sully (46119), Todd (46121)*, Tripp (46123), Walworth (46129), Ziebach (46137)
TX Aransas (48007), Brazoria (48039), Calhoun (48057), Clay (48077), Refugio (48391)
WY Albany (56001), Fremont (56013), Goshen (56015), Lincoln (56023), Park (56029)*, Sublette (56035), Sweetwater (56037), Teton (56039), Uinta (56041)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Upper St. Johns (03080101)+, Oklawaha (03080102)+
09 Des Lacs (09010002)+*, Lower Souris (09010003)+*, Headwaters Souris River (09010007)+*, Moose Mountain Creek-Souris River (09010008)+*
10 Charlie-Little Muddy (10060005)+, Big Muddy (10060006)+, Brush Lake closed basin (10060007)+, Yellowstone Headwaters (10070001)+, Upper Wind (10080001)+, Lower Yellowstone (10100004)+, Lake Sakakawea (10110101)+*, Little Muddy (10110102)+*, Beaver (10110204)+, Rapid (10120110)+, Middle Cheyenne-Elk (10120111)+, Lower Cheyenne (10120112)+*, Cherry (10120113)+, Redwater (10120203)+, Painted Woods-Square Butte (10130101)+*, Upper Lake Oahe (10130102)+, Apple (10130103)+*, Lower Lake Oahe (10130105)+, West Missouri Coteau (10130106)+, Knife (10130201)+*, North Fork Grand (10130301)+*, South Fork Grand (10130302)+, Grand (10130303)+, South Fork Moreau (10130304)+*, Upper Moreau (10130305)+, Lower Moreau (10130306)+, Fort Randall Reservoir (10140101)+, Bad (10140102)+, Medicine Knoll (10140103)+, Medicine (10140104)+, Crow (10140105)+, Upper White (10140201)+, Middle White (10140202)+, Little White (10140203)+, Lower White (10140204)+, Ponca (10150001)+, Upper Niobrara (10150003)+, Middle Niobrara (10150004)+, Snake (10150005)+, Keya Paha (10150006)+, Elm (10160004)+, Mud (10160005)+, Middle James (10160006)+, East Missouri Coteau (10160007)+, Snake (10160008)+, Turtle (10160009)+, Lower James (10160011)+, Lewis and Clark Lake (10170101)+, Middle Big Sioux Coteau (10170201)+*, Upper Big Sioux (10170202)+, Sweetwater (10180006)+, Middle North Platte-Scotts Bluff (10180009)+, Upper Laramie (10180010)+, Horse (10180012)+, Lower North Platte (10180014)+, Lower South Platte (10190018)+, Middle Platte-Buffalo (10200101)+, Wood (10200102)+, Middle Platte-Prairie (10200103)+*, Upper Middle Loup (10210001)+, Dismal (10210002)+, Lower Middle Loup (10210003)+, South Loup (10210004)+, Mud (10210005)+, Upper North Loup (10210006)+, Lower North Loup (10210007)+, Calamus (10210008)+, Loup (10210009)+, Cedar (10210010)+, Upper Elkhorn (10220001)+, Red Willow (10250007)+, Medicine (10250008)+, Harlan County Reservoir (10250009)+, Lower Sappa (10250011)+, Beaver (10250014)+, Prairie Dog (10250015)+, Middle Republican (10250016)+, Upper Big Blue (10270201)+, West Fork Big Blue (10270203)+, Turkey (10270204)+, Upper Little Blue (10270206)+
11 Rattlesnake (11030009)+, Gar-Peace (11030010)+, Cow (11030011)+, Upper Cimarron-Liberal (11040006)+, Lower Cimarron-Eagle Chief (11050001)+, Lower Cimarron-Skeleton (11050002)+, Lower Cimarron (11050003)+, Upper Salt Fork Arkansas (11060002)+, Medicine Lodge (11060003)+, Lower Salt Fork Arkansas (11060004)+, Black Bear-Red Rock (11060006)+, Caney (11070106)+, Lower Canadian-Deer (11090201)+, Lower Canadian-Walnut (11090202)+, Middle Beaver (11100102)+, Coldwater (11100103)+, Lower Beaver (11100201)+, Lower Wolf (11100203)+, Middle North Canadian (11100301)+, Middle North Fork Red (11120302)+, Lower North Fork Red (11120303)+, Groesbeck-Sandy (11130101)+, Blue-China (11130102)+, Farmers-Mud (11130201)+, Cache (11130202)+, West Cache (11130203)+, Wichita (11130206)+, Northern Beaver (11130208)+, Washita headwaters (11130301)+, Upper Washita (11130302)+, Middle Washita (11130303)+
12 San Bernard (12090401)+, Central Matagorda Bay (12100401)+, East San Antonio Bay (12100403)+, West San Antonio Bay (12100404)+, Aransas Bay (12100405)+
14 Upper Green (14040101)+, New Fork (14040102)+, Upper Green-Slate (14040103)+, Big Sandy (14040104)+, Blacks Fork (14040107)+, Muddy (14040108)+
16 Upper Bear (16010101)+, Central Bear (16010102)+
17 Snake headwaters (17040101)+, Gros Ventre (17040102)+, Greys-Hobock (17040103)+, Salt (17040105)+, Lower Henrys (17040203)+, Teton (17040204)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A very tall, mostly white, long-legged bird (crane).
General Description: A very tall, mainly white bird with a long neck, long legs, and red facial skin; black primaries are evident in flight; immatures are mainly white but have pale reddish-brown head and neck and similar color scattered elsewhere on the body.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Differs from sandhill crane in being mainly white instead of gray. Differs from white ibis in being larger and having a straight bill rather than a decurved one. Differs from white herons and egrets in having black primaries and red facial skin. Differs from snow goose in having much longer legs and neck. Differs from white swans in having black primaries, much longer legs, and a pointed bill.
Reproduction Comments: Breeding begins in early May. Pair mates for life. Both sexes, in turn, incubate 2, sometimes 1-3, eggs for 33-34 days. Nestlings are precocial. Young are tended by both adults, fledge when no less than 10 weeks old (no earlier than mid-August), remain with parents until following year (dissociate after arrival on breeding grounds). Sexually mature at 4-6 years.
Ecology Comments: Population has exhibited 10-year periodicity (Boyce and Miller 1985, Dennis et al. 1991).

Mated pairs and families establish and defend winter territories on coastal marshes in Texas. Breeding territories are very large, averaging 770 ha (Johnsgard 1991). Home ranges of breeding pairs in Canada were about 3-19 sq km (Kuyt 1993).

Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Now migrates mainly through Great Plains from southern Canada and Dakotas south to Texas (arrives around mid-October). Introduced individuals migrate from Idaho (also Utah, Montana, and Wyoming) south primarily to central New Mexico (this population is headed for extirpation). Pairs or family groups begin northward migration early to mid-April. An 85,000 sq km area in Saskatchewan appears to serve as a premigratory staging area in fall, but there are no critical, traditional wetlands used elsewhere by migrants (Howe 1989). Spring migrants use Platte Valley during northward migration. See Howe (1989) for information on migration between Texas and Saskatchewan (distribution patterns of radio-tracked individuals differed greatly from distributions derived from opportunistic sightings). See also Johnsgard (1991) for details on spring and fall migration.

An attempt to establish a nonmigratory population in Florida was underway in the early 1990s.

Estuarine Habitat(s): Herbaceous wetland, Lagoon, Tidal flat/shore
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cropland/hedgerow, Grassland/herbaceous
Habitat Comments: Nesting occurs in dense emergent vegetation (sedge, bulrush) in shallow (often slightly alkaline) ponds (Kuyt 1995), freshwater marshes, wet prairies, or along lake margins. Pothole breeding sites in Canada are separated by narrow ridges vegetated by black spruce, tamarack, and willow. The nest is a mound of marsh vegetation rising about 20-50 centimeters above the surrounding water level.

Habitat during migration and winter includes marshes, shallow lakes, lagoons, salt flats, grain and stubble fields, and barrier islands (AOU 1983, Matthews and Moseley 1990). Radio-marked migrants roosted primarily in palustrine wetlands, many of which were smaller than 0.5 hectares (Howe 1989). Migration habitat includes mainly sites with good horizontal visibility, water depth of 30 centimeters or less, and minimum wetland size of 0.04 hectares for roosting (Armbruster 1990, which see for further details).

Adult Food Habits: Carnivore, Frugivore, Granivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore, Frugivore, Granivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: During summer, feeds on insects, crustaceans, and berries; winter diet includes grains, acorns, wolfberry fruit, insects, crustaceans (e.g., blue crab, crayfish), mollusks (e.g., the clam TAGELLUS PLEBIUS and the snail MELAMPUS COFFEUS), fishes, amphibians, reptiles, marine worms (USFWS 1980, Hunt and Slack 1989). Blue crabs obtained from flooded tidal flats and sloughs dominate diet in Texas until January; then cranes move to shallow bays and channels to eat clams and an occasional crab (Matthews and Moseley 1990). Radio-marked migrants fed primarily in a variety of croplands (Howe 1989). Probes in mud or sand in or near shallow water, takes prey from water column, or picks items from substrate (Ehrlich et al. 1992).
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Length: 132 centimeters
Weight: 5826 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: The wild whooping crane population is characterized by low numbers, slow reproductive potential, and limited genetic diversity. A stochastic, catastrophic event could eliminate the wild, self-sustaining Aransas-Wood Buffalo population (AWBP). Therefore, the recovery strategy involves: protection and enhancement of the breeding, migration, and wintering habitat for the AWBP to allow the wild flock to grow and reach ecological and genetic stability; reintroduction and establishment of self-sustaining wild flocks within the species' historic range and that are geographically separate from the AWBP to ensure resilience to catastrophic events; and maintenance of a captive breeding flock to protect against extinction. Offspring from the captive breeding population will be released into the wild to establish these populations. Production by released birds and their offspring will ultimately result in selfsustaining wild populations. The continued growth of the AWBP, establishment of additional populations, and maintenance of the captive flock will also address the loss of genetic diversity. [Source: CWS and USFWS 2007]
Restoration Potential: See Recovery Plan (CWS and USFWS 2007).
Management Requirements: See Recovery Plan (CWS and USFWS 2007).
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Use Class: Breeding
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of breeding (including historical); and potential recurring breeding at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 15 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 15 km
Separation Justification: Based on a home range of 19 square kilometers; breeding home ranges vary from 3 to 19 square kilometers (Kuyt 1993).
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 2 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Based on a small home range of 3 square kilometers (Kuyt 1993).
Date: 09Oct2001
Author: Cannings, S. G.

Use Class: Migratory stopover
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating individuals or flocks (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of an individual in appropriate habitat. Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Arbitrary distance; occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of roosting or foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Date: 17Apr2002
Author: Cannings, S.

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of wintering flocks (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of an individual in appropriate habitat. Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 20 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Arbitrary distance; occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of roosting or foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Date: 17Apr2002
Author: Cannings, S.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 24Mar2011
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 15Oct2008
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Allen, R.P. 1952. The Whooping Crane. New York. National Audubon Society Research Report #3. 249 pp.

  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU), Committee on Classification and Nomenclature. 1983. Check-list of North American Birds. Sixth Edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas.

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