A crane fossil approximately ten million years old was found in Nebraska and is structurally identical to the modern Sandhill Crane, making it the oldest known bird species still surviving.
Some other interesting facts about Sandhill Cranes from whatbird.com:
- Sandhill Cranes are noted for their elaborate courtship displays. Two displays are used to form mating pairs while three other displays occur only between mates and serve to maintain the pair bond.
- They frequently preen with vegetation and mud stained with iron oxide resulting in a reddish-brown color rather than their natural gray.
- A group of cranes has many collective nouns, including a “construction”, “dance”, “sedge”, “siege”, and “swoop” of cranes.