Perhaps the ‘tallest’ bird in BC, individuals which nest in temperate latitudes are the largest form. Plumage and body size are similar for both sexes (males in a breeding pair are slightly larger than the female). Body and wing feathers are varying shades of grey. In some regions where certain soils types occur, birds will preen iron rich mud into their feathers, creating an overall rust tinge. Bald, red skin covers the forehead and crown. Feathers on the face, chin, upper throat, and nape are white to pale grey. Adults have a white cheek patch. Legs and toes are dark grey to black. A cluster of large curved feathers or “bustle” characteristic of cranes, cover the lower back and tail feathers. Juvenile plumage changes from cinnamon brown to gray as the bird matures during the first year.