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crane (in zoology)

crane, large wading bird found in marshes in the Northern Hemisphere and in Africa. Although sometimes confused with herons, cranes are more closely related to rails and limpkins. Cranes are known for their loud trumpeting call that can be heard for miles and for the rhythmic, jumping dances both males and females perform during mating season. They eat small animals, grain, and other vegetable matter. The North American whooping crane, a white bird almost 5 ft (1.5 m) tall, was nearly extinct by the 1940s. Many have since been raised in captivity and new populations in the wild have been fostered, although the bird is still endangered. Most migratory whooping cranes winter at Aransas Bay, Tex. The migratory populations of the sandhill crane, about 4 ft (1.2 m) tall with gray plumage, winter west of the Mississippi River; they are noted for their large congregations along the Platte River in Nebraska during migration. The crowned crane of Africa has bright, contrasting colors. At the beginning of the 21st cent. there were 15 species of crane in the world, 11 of them endangered. Cranes are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Gruiformes, family Gruidae.

See P. Matthiesen, The Birds of Heaven: Travels With Cranes (2001).

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crane

crane1 / krān/ • n. a large, tall machine used for moving heavy objects, typically by suspending them from a projecting arm or beam. ∎ a metal arm fastened inside a fireplace for holding cooking pots. ∎  a moving platform supporting a television or movie camera. • v. 1. [intr.] stretch out one's neck in order to see something: she craned forward to look more clearly. ∎  [tr.] stretch out (one's neck) in this way. 2. [tr.] move (a heavy object) with a crane.

crane

crane2 • n. a tall, long-legged, long-necked bird (Grus and other genera, family Gruidae), typically with white or gray plumage.

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crane

crane Any of several species of tall wading birds found in most parts of the world except s America. It has brownish, greyish, or white plumage with a bright ornamental head. After courtship dances, the female lays two eggs in a bulky nest. Height: to 150cm (60in). Family Gruidae.

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cranes

cranes See GRUIDAE.

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crane

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