#Biodiversity150 number 17 of 150 Whooping Crane

17/150: Whooping cranes – till death do them part!

Animalia: Chordata: Aves: Gruiformes: Gruidae: Grus: Grus americana (Linnaeus, 1758)

Whooping cranes (Grus americana) come by their name honestly; they were given the moniker thanks to their loud trumpet-like calls which can be heard from several kilometers away! They use these calls for a variety of reasons and one of the most important is to attract the opposite sex in courtship displays. You see, whooping cranes are true romantics in the animal kingdom, they find partners at around 2 or 3 years of age and mate in those same pairs for life, or until one of the pair dies, taking “till death do us part” quite literally. In that same vein, their courtship dance is a spectacle of energetic dancing including jumping, flapping and head tossing – sound familiar to any of the great apes? I’m looking at you, humans. This love story was on the brink of elimination in the 1940’s, when the population of whooping cranes was decimated to 23 individuals. Thankfully, populations have since increased to around 760 through dedicated conservation efforts which include captive breeding, reintroductions, and some nifty migration work using ultralight aircraft. #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service teaching whooping cranes their fall migration route using ultralight aircraft. Photo Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service goo.gl/PRvhAV
The intricate and high energy courtship behaviour of the whooping crane (Grus americana). Photo Credit: Claire Timm goo.gl/qfZtK3

You can see their mating dance in this video!

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID:  KKBNA956-05

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Whooping Crane

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:ABX5108

Title Image: Whooping Crane (Grus americana)
Photo Credit: Sasata goo.gl/h3Ty59