How do cranes drink water?

Cranes "scoop" water with their beaks. Then they lift their neck and bill in the air, using gravity and probably their tongue to work it down their throats in swallowing.

This photo shows cranes in three different stages of drinking: the bill down to scoop up water, and two cranes in the process of swallowing.

By Eva, ICF Tracking Field Manager


Photo Eva Szyszkoski, ICF.
MORE: Did you guess that cranes would suck up water? Ornithologist Laura Erickson explains why they don't: "The muscles that would be needed for sucking are just not present in most birds, probably to minimize weight. Also, birds have a reflex that shuts the glottis (the passageway to the trachea) when they raise the head to swallow food or water. The only birds that do suck are pigeons and doves, one specific finch of northern Australia (the Australian Gouldian Finch), and some oceanic birds called fulmars."


Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership.