Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Cranes are large, long-necked, long-legged birds that resemble herons but are classified separately due to different anatomical features. Two species of cranes are native to North America--the endangered whooping crane and the sandhill crane. The sandhill crane is a game species in North Dakota. Cranes fly with their necks and legs fully extended, unlike herons which fly with their necks in an S-shape. Cranes are believed to mate for life and their courtship rituals are both dramatic and graceful.