Order Gruiformes / Cranes & Rails

    Order Gruiformes

    Gruiformes order contains a wide variety of birds, both in size and other features. Most notable species of Gruiformes are cranes and quails, but there also other less known species.

    How to pronounce Gruiformes?

    Gruiformes Families

    According to the taxonomy, there are five families in the bird order Gruiformes:

    • Aramidae (Limpkins).
    • Gruidae (Cranes).
    • Heliornithidae (Finfoots).
    • Psophiidae (Trumpeters).
    • Rallidae (Coots, Rails, & more).

    Based on the current classification, there are roughly about 165 species and 269 sub-species in this bird order.

    Characteristics of Gruiformes

    Here are some general features of Gruiformes:

    • Many birds in the order have plumage in subdued colors – grey, white, or brown;
    • Many Gruiformes have long, slender bills;
    • Gruiformes have long wings rounded at the edges;
    • Most species in the order have long and strong legs;
    • Many Gruiformes species are known for special mating rituals;
    • Gruiformes birds are found on all continents except in Antarctica.
    • The bird Kagu in this bird order lives exclusively on the island of New Caledonia near Australia in the Pacific Ocean.
    • Cranes can be found on all continents except Antarctica and South America. Interestingly, Rails, gallinules, and coots can be found worldwide.
    • According to IUCN, the birds in this order are of least concern (LC).

    Gruiformes Habitats

    In terms of habitats, Gruiformes live in diverse locations:

    Gruiformes Birds Habitats
    Sungrebes, Rails Aquatic regions (marshes, swamps, lakes, and streams)
    Sunbitterns Rainforests and swamps
    Cranes Freshwater and marine wetlands
    Trumpeters Tropical Rainforests
    Kagus Forest-lands
    Mesites Rainforest, deciduous forest, and dry scrubland
    Bustards Brush, scrub habitats and open grassland.

    Gruiformes Diet

    In general, Gruiformes birds eat a wide variety of plant and animal matter.

    Gruiformes Birds Diet
    Sungrebes Small insects, aquatic animals, seeds, and leaves.
    Sunbitterns Insects, small fish, and crustaceans.
    Limpkin Apple snails, insects, and seeds.
    Cranes Seeds, fish, and other animal matter.
    Trumpeters Fruits, berries, seeds,
    Kagu Insects, worms, small frogs and mollusks
    Mesites Fruits, seeds, small insects
    Bustards Seeds, insects, and other small animals.

    Gruiformes Birds

    Here is a sample of Gruiformes species variety:

    • Sandbill crane;
    • Australian crane;
    • Demoiselle crane;
    • Courlan, or limpkin;
    • Corncrake, or land rail;
    • Water rail;
    • Inaccessible Island rail;
    • American finfoot;
    • Mud hen;
    • European coot.

    Cite This Page

    BioExplorer.net. (2023, October 03). Order Gruiformes / Cranes & Rails. Bio Explorer. https://www.bioexplorer.net/order-gruiformes/.
    BioExplorer.net. "Order Gruiformes / Cranes & Rails" Bio Explorer, 03 October 2023, https://www.bioexplorer.net/order-gruiformes/.
    BioExplorer.net. "Order Gruiformes / Cranes & Rails" Bio Explorer, October 03 2023. https://www.bioexplorer.net/order-gruiformes/.
    Key References
    • “ITIS Standard Report Page: Gruiformes”. Accessed December 13, 2019. Link.
    • “Birds Orders & Families Of The World”. Accessed December 13, 2019. Link.
    • “ADW: Gruiformes: CLASSIFICATION”. Accessed December 13, 2019. Link.
    • “IUCN Red List of Threatened Species”. Accessed December 13, 2019. Link.


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