Common cranes calling with heads raised in the air

Coots, cranes and rails

Coots, cranes and rails are mostly water birds, though a few terrestrial species are mixed in. As a scientific group, gruiformes is a bit of a catch-all, as all manner of species have been placed in here that didn't quite belong anywhere else. Consequently, it contains diverse members that are globally widespread. Recent evidence has suggested that certain species, such as bustards and seriemas, don't belong here at all. Sungrebes, rails and cranes do however remain among the core species that make up the gruiformes.

Scientific name: Gruiformes

Rank: Order


Map showing the distribution of the Coots, cranes and rails taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

Explore this group


The following habitats are found across the Coots, cranes and rails distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Birds
  5. Coots, cranes and rails