How to Tell Gender Difference in Sandhill Cranes

By Lauren Corona
Sandhill cranes have white cheeks and red markings on their foreheads.

Sandhill cranes are a species of crane native to North America. They are large, omnivorous birds that stand between four and five feet tall, with a wingspan of between six and seven feet. These birds are gray all over, except for crimson markings on their foreheads and white cheeks. There's very little that sets apart a male sandhill crane from a female. Listening and watching are the two best ways to determine gender.

Look at the weight difference between a breeding pair of sandhill cranes. Females average 9-1/2 lbs.; males are around 12 lbs.

Listen to the cranes calling to one another. The male makes a low-pitched call and the female makes a high-pitched one.

Watch a male and female during their mating dance. The male sandhill crane throws its head up so that its neck makes a vertical line; the female throws its head up at only a 45-degree angle from its usual (horizontal) position.