A Chorus of Cranes

The Cranes of North America and the World

by Paul A. Johnsgard, photographs by Thomas D. Mangelsen

Paperback Price $29.95
Ebook Price $23.95
30-day ebook rental price $9.99

Buy Now

Finalist for the Jan Garton Prairie Heritage Book Award

"In this glorious book, Paul Johnsgard and Tom Mangelsen have captured the very essence of these ancient birds—their beauty, grace of movement, and fascinating lives. It is a must for crane lovers, birders, and all who love the natural world."
—Jane Goodall

"Professor Paul Johnsgard is the world's leading synthesizer of our knowledge of birds and the presenter of such varied and complex information to both professional and lay audiences. He has made an enormous contribution to our planet. . . . In his latest book, A Chorus of Cranes, the splendor of Johnsgard's lyrical style is matched by incomparable images from one of the world's best-known photographers, and fellow Nebraskan, Tom Mangelsen."
—George Archibald, Co-Founder and Senior Conservationist, International Crane Foundation

"[​Johnsgard​'s] prose blends a scientific and a poetic regard for these birds and the habitats they depend on in a way that’s reminiscent of Aldo Leopold — a higher compliment than which I cannot think to bestow. His prose is elegant and vivid. . . . a book well worth seeking out.​"
10,000 Birds
"Johnsgard's detailed black-and-white drawings burst from their pages, drawing on a lifetime of observation. These alternate with Mangelsen's photos, so stunning and intimate they appear impossible to shoot. . . . Readers can open any page of this beautiful book to become inspired."
"Johnsgard’s passion for cranes is evident and may inspire readers to seek out even more information about these species and the places they live. Moreover, readers may be inspired to visit places where cranes traditionally congregate and see and hear the splendor of cranes for themselves."
The Condor
​"Any coffee table would be enhanced by the photography in this book. Any person who admires cranes will want to devour every word, to understand their behavior, interpret their poses and dances, learn their natural history, and gain a deeper appreciation of this revered family of birds."
Bird Watcher's Digest​


From the acknowledgments

Since long before medieval times cranes have been considered messengers of the gods, calling annually from on high to remind humans below of the passing years and of their own mortality. Now it is up to humans to take responsibility for controlling our own fate—and also to cry out to protect not only cranes but all the other wonderful creatures that share our increasingly fragile and threatened planetary ecosystem with us. 


Accompanied by the stunning photography of Thomas D. Mangelsen, A Chorus of Cranes details the natural history, biology, and conservation issues surrounding the abundant sandhill crane and the endangered whooping crane in North America. Author Paul A. Johnsgard, one of the leading authorities on cranes and crane biology, describes the fascinating social behaviors, beautiful natural habitats, and grueling seasonal migrations that have stirred the hearts of people as far back as medieval times and garnered the crane a place in folklore and mythology across continents.

Johnsgard has substantially updated and significantly expanded his 1991 work Crane Music, incorporating new information on the biology and status of these two North American cranes and providing abbreviated summaries on the other thirteen crane species of the world. The stories of these birds and their contrasting fates provide an instructive and moving history of bird conservation in North America. A Chorus of Cranes is a gorgeous and invaluable resource for crane enthusiasts, birders, natural historians, and conservationists alike. 


The University Press of Colorado gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Iain Nicholson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary, Audubon Nebraska, Ron and Judy Parks, Wagon Tongue Creek Farm, and the Trull Foundation toward the publication of this book.


Paul A. Johnsgard was Foundation Professor of Biological Sciences Emeritus at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He was the world's most prolific author of ornithological literature, having published nearly 70 books, five works of fiction, and more than 100 peer-reviewed and 150 nature-related articles. He has been awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award, Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award, and an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Nebraska, and in recognition of his ornithological writing and conservation work was awarded a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the National Wildlife Federation’s National Conservation Achievement Award, the National Audubon Society’s Charles H.Callahan Award, and the American Ornithologists’ Union’s Ralph Schreiber Conservation Award. Paul Johnsgard, renowned ornithologist, remembered for prolific career.

Thomas D. Mangelsen is one of the world's premier nature photographers. He was named BBC's Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 1994 and One of the 100 Most Important People in Photography by American Photo magazine. His work is offered in eight MANGELSEN-Images of Nature galleries across the United States.

University Press of Colorado Logo


  • Paperback Price: $29.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60732-436-2
  • Ebook Price: $23.95
  • 30-day ebook rental price: $9.99
  • EISBN: 978-1-60732-437-9
  • Publication Month: December
  • Publication Year: 2015
  • Pages: 208
  • Illustrations: 35 color photographs, 41 line art illutrations
  • Discount Type: Trade
  • Author: by Paul A. Johnsgard, photographs by Thomas D. Mangelsen
  • ECommerce Code: 978-1-60732-436-2
  • Get Permissions: Get Permission

Related Titles

Browse Related Titles Tagged Under:

University Press of Colorado University of Alaska Press Utah State University Press University of Wyoming Press