whooping crane

whooping crane
a white North American crane, Grus americana, having a loud, whooping call: an endangered species. See illus. under crane.
[1720-30, Amer.]

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Migratory North American bird (Grus americana) and one of the world's rarest birds, on the verge of extinction.

The tallest North American bird, it is almost 5 ft (150 cm) tall and has a wingspread of about 7 ft (210 cm). It is white with black-tipped wings, black legs, and a bare red face and crown. Its shrill, whooping call can be heard for 2 miles (3 km). Almost exterminated in the early 20th century, it became the object of intensive conservation efforts; by century's end there were still fewer than 300 wild and captive individuals. See also sandhill crane.

Whooping crane (Grus americana).

H. William Belknap

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 tallest American bird and one of the world's rarest. At the beginning of the 21st century fewer than 300 whooping cranes remained in the wild. Most are part of a flock that migrates between Texas and Canada. Almost all the rest are part of a mainly nonmigrating Florida population.

 Similar to the sandhill crane, the whooping crane is almost 150 cm (5 feet) tall and has a wingspan of about 210 cm (7 feet). It is white with black-tipped wings, black legs, and a bare red face and crown. It has a whooping call purported to be audible for 2 miles (3.2 km). Courtship displays include a leaping dance replete with flapping, bowing, and other movements.

      It is believed that the whooping crane had been declining in numbers for some time because of changing ecological conditions. Hunting and cultivation of land beginning in the 19th century hastened the process. The crane's low rate of reproduction—one to three eggs per nest—coupled with a high rate of infant mortality retards recovery of the population. In 2006 two whooping crane chicks were hatched at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin; they were the first chicks hatched in the wild in the midwestern United States in more than a century.

  The entire Florida flock used to be nonmigratory. In 2001, however, ornithologists (ornithology) in Wisconsin began to establish a second migrating (migration) flock by teaching the whoopers to follow ultralight aircraft and then flying to Florida. To accomplish this, hatchlings were raised by scientists dressed in suits resembling adult cranes—a necessary provision so that the birds could recognize other cranes and not become accustomed to humans. These elaborate efforts proved successful in 2002 when the cranes that followed the ultralight to Florida departed northward on their own in the spring. Each year another ultralight takes off southward from Wisconsin to teach another “class” of whooping cranes where to spend the winter.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • whooping crane — ☆ whooping crane [ho͞o′piŋ, hwo͞o′piŋ; wo͞o′piŋ ] n. a large, white, North American crane (Grus americana), noted for its whooping call: now nearly extinct: see CRANE …   English World dictionary

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  • Whooping Crane Summer Range — is a 16,895 km² wetland complex in the boreal forests of northern Alberta and southwestern Northwest Territories in Canada. It is the only natural nesting habitat for the critically endangered whooping crane. On May 24, 1982 it was designated a… …   Wikipedia

  • whooping crane — whoop′ing crane′ n. orn a white North American crane, Grus americana, having a loud, whooping call • Etymology: 1720–30, amer …   From formal English to slang

  • whooping crane — noun , a kind of bird. Syn: sandhill crane, trumpeter crane …   Wiktionary

  • whooping crane — noun rare North American crane having black and white plumage and a trumpeting call • Syn: ↑whooper, ↑Grus americana • Hypernyms: ↑crane • Member Holonyms: ↑Grus, ↑genus Grus …   Useful english dictionary

  • whooping crane — noun Date: circa 1730 a large white nearly extinct North American crane (Grus americana) noted for its loud trumpeting call …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • whooping crane — [ hu:pɪŋ, w ] noun a large mainly white crane with a trumpeting call, breeding in central Canada and now endangered. [Grus americana.] …   English new terms dictionary

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