This order is a very diverse order or small to large aquatic and terrestrial birds that comprises 12 families. Gruiform means “crane-like”. There is a great deal of disagreement as to the birds classified in this order. There is very little uniformity and the various families do not resemble each other in appearance. In fact, more differences seem to surface as one studies each family.

In general, these are mostly ground living birds that feed and nest on the ground. Some are strong fliers, some are weak fliers and some never fly. Some like marshes, some prefer the margins or ponds and lakes and others live in open areas or savannas.