Sandhill cranes are among Alaska’s largest birds. They are wading birds that have long black legs, long necks, and black chisel-shaped bills. Adults stand almost three feet (0.9 m) tall and have a wing span of six feet (1.8 m) or more. Mature birds are an ash-gray color with a bright red forehead. Immature birds are quite mottled with coppery or rusty feathers and lack the red forehead of adults. Adult plumage is attained at two-and-a-half years. In the past, the sandhill cranes in Alaska were called “little brown” cranes and were thought to be a separate species based on their color.