As a group, the Gruiformes eat a wide variety of plant and animal matter. Sungrebes eat small insects and other aquatic animals, as well as seeds and leaves. Sunbitterns eat insects, small fish, and crustaceans. The limpkin's primary prey is apple snails, but they also eat insects and seeds. Cranes have a diverse diet, eating seeds and other vegetable and animal matter. Rails also eat a diverse diet of animal and plant matter. Trumpeters eat fruits, berries, seeds, and other plant matter. The kagu eats insects, worms, small frogs, and mollusks.

Mesites eat fruit, seeds, and insects. Seriemas eat insects, small reptiles, mammals, and some plant matter. Bustards eat seeds, insects, and other small animals.

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