Order Gruiformes / Cranes & Rails

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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 article as: "Order Gruiformes / Cranes & Rails," in Bio Explorer, September 27, 2020, 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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