There are 15 different species of cranes, says the International Crane Foundation. Cranes are found all over the world except in South America and Antarctica. They prefer to live in wetlands. Areas with open water and wet grasslands are ideal for cranes, says The Wonder of Birds.
Cranes are very tall birds, with the largest standing well over 5 feet. Depending on the species, they weigh from 5 to 26 pounds and have a 5- to 8-foot wingspan. Cranes like to live in large flocks. Many migrate long distances from summer to winter feeding grounds on an annual basis. In the summer, they prefer to eat insects and seeds, and in the winter, they hunt for fish and small rodents.
The largest number of crane species is found in Asia and Africa, says The Wonder of Birds. Only two crane species, the sandhill crane and the whooping crane, are found in North America. The whooping crane is extremely rare and is considered critically endangered, says the International Crane Foundation. Many species of cranes worldwide are considered endangered. Destruction of the wetlands that they live in is a major reason for their decline. Some cranes are also hunted for food and sport.