Bird Database

Sandhill Crane

(Antigone canadensis)

State of the Birds
At a Glance



Short distance




Habitat loss

Conservation Actions

Protect wetlands

Sandhill Crane

(Antigone canadensis)

The Sandhill Crane is a relatively new addition to NH’s list of breeding birds. For many years a single bird frequented the town of Monroe in the upper Connecticut River valley, but it wasn’t until 2014 that it attracted a mate and successfully bred. This site is still home to a breeding pair, and other sites with consistent records now include the Umbagog area and Nottingham. The colonization of New Hampshire is part of an eastward expansion by this species starting in the 1990s. They first colonized Pennsylvania in 1993, then jumped to Maine in 2000, and have now bred in every New England State except Rhode Island.

Cranes nest in bogs and similar wetlands, building a floating mound of vegetation on which they ley two eggs. These hatch after a month of incubation, and the young chicks (called colts) leave the nest and begin feeding themselves within 24 hours. Colts stay with their parents through spring migration, and then spend their first full summer associating with other young birds before breeding when they are two years old. Once a crane becomes independant of its parents, they can be very long lived, with records of birds 30-40 years old in the western U.S.

Athough still rare as a breeder in NH, the Sandhill Crane is increasing seen during migration in spring and fall. During this time they often stop over to feed in corn fields in the major river valleys or inland from the coast. If you’re especially lucky you’ll hear them as well. Their resonant bugling call is produced by means of an exceptionally long trachea that is partially coiled inside their breastbone. By this measure, cranes are those closest birds get to a French horn!

Seasonal Abundance

Relative abundance based on eBird data. Numbers indicate likelihood of finding this species in suitable habitat at a given time of year, not actual numbers encountered.

Sandhill Crane
Range Map

Information for the species profiles on this website was compiled from a combination of the sources listed below.

  • The Birds of New Hampshire. By Allan R. Keith and Robert B. Fox. 2013. Memoirs of the Nuttall Ornithological club No. 19.

  • Atlas of the Breeding Birds of New Hampshire. Carol R. Foss, ed. 1994. Arcadia Publishing Company and Audubon Society of New Hampshire

  • Birds of the World. Various authors and dates. Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

  • Data from the Breeding Bird Survey

  • Data from the Christmas Bird Count