How to Identify a Whooping Crane: With the exception of black wing tips (primary feathers) and a black mustache, the body plumage is snow white. Red skin and sparse, black hair-like feathers cover the bird’s crown. The eye color is golden yellow while the bill is yellowish and sometimes tipped with dull green. Visible portions of the legs and toes are black. Juveniles have entirely feathered heads. Juvenile plumage, except for primaries, is whitish and heavily mottled with cinnamon feathers that diminish as the chick ages. The primaries are dullish black.
Still not sure which species you observed? There are several birds in North America that resemble cranes and are often misidentified at first glance – even by biologists! If you are unsure what species you are observing, click here for images and descriptions of some birds that are commonly mistaken for cranes.
View the Where Are the Whoopers interactive map for the last known location of cranes in the Eastern Migratory Population.
We will share your sighting with our staff and colleagues working to protect Whooping Cranes in Louisiana, Texas and in the eastern United States. You may also report a Whooping Crane in Louisiana or East Texas here.