Cranes, Rails and relatives

180 species

Cranes and crakes, coots, gallinules, and rails are wading and terrestrial birds with a widespread geographical diversity. Cranes live on all continents except Antarctica and South America. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Some species and populations of cranes migrate over long distances; others do not migrate at all. Cranes are solitary during the breeding season, occurring in pairs, but during the non-breeding season, most species form large flocks. They are opportunistic feeders that change their diets according to the season and their own nutrient requirements. Cranes construct platform nests in shallow water and typically lay two eggs at a time. Both parents help to rear the young, which remain with them until the next breeding season. Most species of crane suffer from human activities and are at the least classified as threatened, if not critically endangered. Crakes, coots, gallinules, and rails are small- to medium-sized, ground-living birds. They occur on every continent except Antarctica. These birds are generally weak fliers and often prefer to run rather than fly, especially in dense habitat. Some are also flightless at some time during their molt periods. Many reedbed species are secretive and crepuscular. They are shy and difficult to observe. Members of this family are omnivorous generalists and eat invertebrates, as well as fruit or seedlings. A few species are primarily herbivorous. Most often, they lay five to 10 eggs. Chicks become mobile after a few days and often depend on their parents until around 1 month old. These birds have suffered disproportionally from human changes to the environment and some species of island rails have become extinct because of this. Several island species remain endangered.
Cranes and crakes, coots, gallinules, and rails are wading and terrestrial birds with a widespread geographical diversity. Cranes live on all continents except Antarctica and South America. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Some species and populations of cranes migrate over long distances; others do not migrate at all. Cranes are solitary during the breeding season, occurring in pairs, but during the non-breeding season, most species form large flocks. They are opportunistic feeders that change their diets according to the season and their own nutrient requirements. Cranes construct platform nests in shallow water and typically lay two eggs at a time. Both parents help to rear the young, which remain with them until the next breeding season. Most species of crane suffer from human activities and are at the least classified as threatened, if not critically endangered. Crakes, coots, gallinules, and rails are small- to medium-sized, ground-living birds. They occur on every continent except Antarctica. These birds are generally weak fliers and often prefer to run rather than fly, especially in dense habitat. Some are also flightless at some time during their molt periods. Many reedbed species are secretive and crepuscular. They are shy and difficult to observe. Members of this family are omnivorous generalists and eat invertebrates, as well as fruit or seedlings. A few species are primarily herbivorous. Most often, they lay five to 10 eggs. Chicks become mobile after a few days and often depend on their parents until around 1 month old. These birds have suffered disproportionally from human changes to the environment and some species of island rails have become extinct because of this. Several island species remain endangered.