19 Birds that Look Like Cranes (A to Z List with Pictures)

Birds that Look Like Cranes

Examples of birds that look like cranes include American white ibises, American white pelican, black-crowned night heron, blue herons, and cattle egret.

When people think of cranes, they think of the large wading birds with long necks. But, there are a few birds in the world that share some features with cranes but are much smaller in size.

These birds can be easily mistaken for cranes, but they have their own unique characteristics that set them apart. Let us take a look at three birds that resemble cranes and how they differ.

Examples of Birds that Look Like Cranes

1. American White Ibises

Scientific NameEudocimus albus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethroughout the Caribbean, on both coasts of Mexico (from Baja California southwards) and Central America, and as far south as Colombia and Venezuela

The American white ibis (Eudocimus albus) is a wading bird in the ibis family. The plumage of this bird is predominantly white with some reddish-brown on the wings and tail. The bill is curved and long, and the legs are black. Adult birds can reach a length of around 27 inches (68 cm).

This bird is found in aquatic habitats in the southeastern United States. It feeds on crayfish, insects, and small mammals. The American white ibis breeds in colonies and builds nests in trees or shrubs.

Related Article: 25 Birds that Eat Snakes

2. American White Pelican

Scientific NamePelecanus erythrorhynchos
Type of AnimalBird
Rangesouthern California, the Gulf States, Mexico, and Central America

The American white pelican is a large bird with a wingspan of up to 9.8 feet. They have all-white plumage, with black wingtips. Their bill is long and flat, and their legs are long and pink.

American white pelicans are found in the interior of North America, as well as along the coasts. They breed in large colonies near water. Their diet consists of fish, which they catch by swimming in groups and working together to herd their prey into shallow water.

Related Article: 11 Birds with White Heads and Black Bodies

3. Black-Crowned Night Heron

Scientific NameNycticorax nycticorax
Type of AnimalBird
Rangewetlands across North America

The Black-crowned Night Heron is a small wading bird that can be found in marshes and wetlands. It has a black back and wings with a white belly. Its head is grey with a black crown and it has a long, sharp beak.

This bird is often mistaken for a crane because of its long neck and legs. However, it is much smaller than a crane and its beak is not as long.

4. Blue Herons

Scientific NameArdea herodias
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America, as far north as Alaska and the southern Canadian

A crane-like bird found in North America, the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is a wading bird with a long neck and legs. It can grow to a length of 4.5 feet (1.4 meters) and has a wingspan of up to 6.6 feet (2 meters). The Great Blue Heron is mostly grey or blue-grey in color with a white head and neck. It has a long, sharp beak that it uses to spearfish.

The Great Blue Heron is a solitary bird but can sometimes be seen in small groups. It is a shy bird and is not often seen close to humans.

5. Cattle Egret

Scientific NameBubulcus ibis
Type of AnimalBird
Rangesouthern Canada south to South America and the Caribbean. It is also found in Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa

The first bird on our list is the cattle egret. These birds are found in warm climates and can often be seen near cattle or other grazing animals. Cattle egrets are white with a yellow bill and black legs. They are about 24 inches long and have a wingspan of 39 inches.

The biggest difference between cattle egrets and cranes is their size. Cattle egrets are about half the size of a crane. They also have shorter necks and legs.

Another difference is that cattle egrets eat insects, frogs, and small reptiles, whereas cranes eat mostly plants.

6. Eurasian Spoonbills

Scientific NamePlatalea leucorodia
Type of AnimalBird
RangeEurope, Asia, and Africa

These birds have very long and thin necks, which is why they are often mistaken for cranes. They also have a long bill that curves downwards, and their legs are quite long too. However, their body is much smaller than that of a crane, and they have white feathers with some black on their wings.

7. Great Egret

Scientific NameArdea alba
Type of AnimalBird
RangeWest Indies or southern Central America

This bird is found in many parts of the world including North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. It has a white plumage with a long neck and legs. The Great Egret can grow to a length of 3.3 feet and has a wingspan of 5.2 feet.

The Great Egret is a member of the heron family and is closely related to the crane. However, it is much smaller in size than the crane. The Great Egret feeds on fish, frogs, and reptiles. It often uses its long neck to reach into the water and snag its prey.

8. Greater Flamingos

Scientific NamePhoenicopterus roseus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangenorthwest India, the Middle East, the western Mediterranean, and Africa

These birds are found in warm, tropical environments and have long legs and necks. They also have a hooked bill that they use to filter food from the water. Flamingos are pink due to the carotenoids in their diet and can grow up to 4 feet tall.

While flamingos may have some similarities to cranes, they are much more brightly colored and do not have the same type of plumage. Flamingos also spend most of their time in the water, whereas cranes prefer to stay on land.

9. Grey Herons

Scientific NameArdea cinerea
Type of AnimalBird
Rangetemperate Europe and Asia and also parts of Africa

The grey heron is a large wading bird that can be found in Europe, Africa, and Asia. They are similar in size to cranes, but they have shorter legs and necks. Grey herons also have black on their wings and back, while cranes are mostly white.

10. Limpkins

Scientific NameAramus guarauna
Type of AnimalBird
RangeFlorida and southern Georgia

The limpkin is a wading bird that is found in Central and South America. It gets its name from its characteristic “limp” walk. This bird has a long neck and legs like a crane, but it is much smaller in size, measuring only about 40 cm (16 in) in length. The limpkin also has a curved bill that is used to feed on snails and crabs.

11. Reddish Egrets

Scientific NameEgretta rufescens
Type of AnimalBird
RangeGulf Coast in Texas and Louisiana

These birds are found in North and South America and have a reddish-brown plumage. They can grow up to 2.5 feet in length and have a wingspan of around 4.5 feet.

Like cranes, they have long necks and legs. Their beaks are also long and curved.

The Reddish Egret is a wading bird and can often be seen stalking its prey in shallow waters. It primarily feeds on fish, crabs, and other small aquatic creatures.

12. Snowy Egret

Scientific NameEgretta thula
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethe United States and southern Canada, south through Central America, the West Indies, South America, and Argentina

The snowy egret is found in North and South America and is a member of the heron family. It gets its name from its white plumage which is accented by its black legs and yellow feet. The Snowy Egret can grow to be about 24 inches tall with a wingspan of 39 inches.

One of the most distinguishing features of the Snowy Egret is its long, curved neck which it uses to spear fish. It also has a black bill and yellow lores (the area between the eyes and bill). The Snowy Egret is a relatively small bird when compared to other crane-like birds.

13. Tricolored Herons

Scientific NameEgretta tricolor
Type of AnimalBird
Rangecoastal parts of the Americas

Tricolored herons are a type of wading bird that is found in the Americas. They get their name from their distinctive plumage, which is mostly white with blue and black stripes. These herons can grow to be about two feet tall and have long, thin necks. They also have long legs that they use to wade through shallow water in search of food.

Tricolored herons are very similar in appearance to cranes, but they are much smaller. They also lack the characteristic bill hook that is found on most crane species.

14. Trumpeter Swan

Scientific NameCygnus buccinator
Type of AnimalBird
Rangewetlands in remote Alaska, Canada, and the northwestern U.S., and winter on ice-free coastal and inland waters

The trumpeter swan is the largest waterfowl in North America. They can grow to be up to six feet long with a wingspan of eight feet. Their necks are long and they have black bills.

Trumpeter swans are mostly white with some black on their wings. They get their name from the fact that they can make a trumpet-like sound.

Trumpeter swans are found in North America and parts of Europe. They prefer to live in wetlands and will often migrate to find new sources of food.

15. White Ibis

Scientific NameEudocimus albus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeon the Atlantic Coast from Virginia south to Florida and along the Gulf Coast west to Texas

The white ibis is a wading bird that is found in the southeastern United States. It has a long, curved bill and long legs. The body of the bird is white with some black on the wings and tail. The white ibis feeds on shrimp, crabs, and other small animals.

16. White Storks

Scientific NameCiconia ciconia
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAfrica from tropical Sub-Saharan Africa to as far south as South Africa, or on the Indian subcontinent

The white stork is a large bird that can be found in Europe and Africa. It has a long neck and legs, and it often stands on one leg. It is mostly white with some black on its wings. White storks eat frogs, insects, and small mammals.

17. Whooping Crane

Scientific NameGrus americana
Type of AnimalBird
RangeWood Buffalo National Park

As its name suggests, this bird is quite large, measuring up to five feet tall! It has a long neck and legs, and its plumage is mostly white with some black on its wings. Its most distinctive feature is its loud call, which sounds like a trumpet blast.

Whooping cranes are found in North America and are one of the rarest birds in the world. There are only about 600 whooping cranes left in the wild, and they are endangered.

18. Wood Stork

Scientific NameMycteria americana
Type of AnimalBird
Rangecoastal Mexico and northern Argentina throughout interior South America

The wood stork is a large wading bird that is found in the southeastern United States. It has a long neck and legs like a crane, but it does not have the characteristic bill.

Instead, it has a short, thick bill that is slightly curved. The wood stork is also much darker than most cranes, with dark brown or black plumage.

19. Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

Scientific NameNyctanassa violacea
Type of AnimalBird
Rangewetlands across North America

The last bird on our list is the Yellow-Crowned Night Heron. This bird is found in North and South America and is a member of the heron family. It gets its name from the yellow feathers on its head, which are more visible during the breeding season.

This bird is mostly grey or bluish-grey in color with a white belly. It has a long, black beak and red eyes. The Yellow-Crowned Night Heron can grow up to 24 inches in length and has a wingspan of around 4 feet.

Conclusion

There are many types of birds that look like cranes. Some of these include herons, egrets, bitterns, and ibises. While they may share some similarities in appearance, there are key differences between these different bird species.

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