Bird Families

Trumpeter Swan / Cygnus buccinator


One cannot remain indifferent at the sight of a swan flock flying high in the sky, it has some kind of special appeal. These are very beautiful birds, and the red beak and black paws make them especially elegant, emphasizing the whiteness of the feather. With such a striking appearance, it is not easy for them to hide from prying eyes. Yes, they do not need this. No wonder the swan has been the most popular bird among artists, poets and singers since the time of mythology.


  1. Migratory and non-migratory species. Where do swans spend the winter?
  2. Flight
  3. Brief description of nesting
  4. Interesting Facts

Swans (Latin name CYGNUS)

Family - Duck (ANATIDAE)

Migratory and non-migratory species. Where do swans spend the winter?

During its life, the swan manages to fly around and see half the world, overcome enormous distances, but always returns to the same nesting, wintering and molting places. The places of its distribution are in Eurasia, North and South America, Australia and Asia. In short, various species live practically all over the world.

In total, there are 7 species in the world:

  • Black Swan (CYGNUS ATRATUS)

Habitat: Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand.

Not a migratory bird.


Habitat: South America.

Wintering sites: Paraguay and southeastern Brazil.

  • Mute swan (CYGNUS OLOR)

Habitat: northern Europe and Asia, Australia and South Africa.

Wintering sites: the north of the Caspian Sea, the Mediterranean, Africa, Asia Minor, Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, India and China.

  • Trumpeter Swan (CYGNUS BUCCINATOR)

Habitat: tundra of North America, southern Alaska.

Wintering site: Pacific coast of Canada.


Habitat: forest-tundra of North America.

Wintering sites: the coast of California and Florida.


Habitat: exclusively on the territory of Russia in the tundra of the European and Asian parts of the country.

Wintering place: they fly to the countries of northwestern Europe (Great Britain, France and the Netherlands), as well as to the countries of southern and southeast Asia (China, Japan and Korea).

  • Whooper swan (CYGNUS CYGNUS) Range: Eurasia,

Wintering sites: in Central and South Asia (India, the Caspian Sea) and in the south of the Mediterranean. Only a few of these birds do not fly to the south, but remain to winter at home, and if they do, then only if there is a sufficient amount of food and the non-freezing surface of the reservoir chosen for wintering. Winter finds such swans most often on reservoirs and warm water canals of power plants in large cities where they flock from frozen ponds and rivers.

The main reason for the migration of this bird - lack of a forage base in winter and severe frosts.

Swans, like geese and ducks, fly to wintering grounds in October – November as the last migratory ones and pull with departure almost until the water bodies freeze, when the rivers are already covered with a crust of ice.

Brief description of nesting

Males and females practically do not differ in appearance, and in their color they are dazzlingly white, gray or black. Even their voices are the same: shrill, trumpets. When the bird is irritated or defends itself, it hisses menacingly at the enemy.

They settle on rivers, lakes, sea lagoons and estuaries heavily overgrown with coastal and aquatic vegetation.

Feeds on various parts of aquatic plants (leaves, buds, bulbs, roots), extracting them from the bottom in shallow water, as well as mollusks, worms, small crustaceans, insects, which it collects on the surface of the water. In terms of the method of obtaining food, swans are in many ways similar to a goose or a duck: they lower their head under the water and place their body vertically, so that only the back half of the body remains on the surface of the water.

Nest is built in shallow water in reed thickets of reed stalks, with obligatory free access to clear water. It is a rather massive structure up to 2 meters in diameter and with a tray at the top. From the inside, the nest, like that of a duck, is lined with grass and down.


The bird is large. The body length is 1.4-1.65 m. The largest males grow up to 1.8 m. An adult bird weighs 7-13.5 kg. In males, the average weight is 11.8 kg, in females this value is 9.4 kg. The wingspan is 1.8-2.5 m. The largest member of the species, officially registered, had a body length of 1.83 m, a wingspan of 3.1 m and a weight of 17.2 kg. In adult birds, the plumage is white. The beak is large, wedge-shaped and completely black. Sometimes a pinkish color is observed near the base of the beak. Legs are pale pink. In some birds, they are gray-yellow and even black. In young birds under one year old, the plumage is gray.

Reproduction and life expectancy

Couples are monogamous and created for life. A small island or a large pile of floating vegetation is selected to build a nest. One nest can be used for several years. Laying takes place in April-May. There are from 4 to 6 eggs in it. But there can be 3 and 12. It just happens rarely. The eggs are large. Each of them weighs about 320 grams.

The incubation period lasts 35-37 days. Mainly female incubates. The hatched chicks can already swim for 2 days and feed on their own 2 weeks after birth. Young people get on the wing at the age of 4 months. In the wild, the trumpeter swan lives for 25-28 years. In captivity, representatives of the species live up to 33-35 years.

Behavior and nutrition

These birds stick to their territories and drive away strangers. In adult birds, molt takes place in summer. In this case, all feathers are lost at once, and females with males cannot fly. But in females this process takes place a month earlier than in males. That is, the weak sex first sheds, and only then the stronger sex.

The diet consists of aquatic plants. These are leaves and stems of underwater and emergent vegetation. Roots and tubers are dug at the bottom. In winter, grass and grains in the fields are eaten. Feeding takes place both during the day and at night. The diet of young birds includes fish, caviar, crustaceans, along with aquatic vegetation, since the body needs protein in large quantities.


At the beginning of the 20th century, this species was very rare, since people practically exterminated it. Over the past 30 years, there has been a steady increase in numbers. At the same time, growth rates increase over time. However, an obstacle to the increase in the number of birds is the increase in the number of mute swans. For example, in the Great Lakes region, it leads a sedentary lifestyle and successfully competes with the trumpeter swan for habitat. Overall, it should be noted that the outlook for population recovery is considered good with the exception of Minnesota. Today in North America there are 19 thousand of these birds.

Black (Cygnus atratus)

It inhabits the entire southwestern part of the Australian continent, New Zealand and North America (mainly in nature reserves). The bird nests in swamps, in river mouths, and also lives in captivity in zoos around the world. Despite its beauty and limited habitat, the black swan is not listed in the Red Book. Females are slightly smaller than males, both representatives of the species have black plumage, red beak. Adults reach a weight of 9 kg, size in length - up to 142 cm.In the wild, this species lives up to 10 years.

Usage Information

Photo "Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator))" can be used for personal and commercial purposes according to the conditions of the purchased Royalty-free license. The image is available for download in high resolution quality up to 6240x4160.

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Black-necked (Cygnus melanocoryphus)

The neck of the representative of this species is painted black, the rest of the body is snow-white, the beak is gray with a build-up. The weight of an adult individual reaches 6.5 kg, the length is up to 140 cm. The black-necked swan lives on small islands or in reeds, and builds nests there. In captivity, the lifespan of individuals reaches 30 years, in the wild - up to 10. Males carefully guard the female while incubating eggs. Black-necked chicks are very active, often move, sitting on the back of their mother or father.

Mute swan (Cygnus olor)

One of the largest species on a par with black. An adult of its own species can gain weight up to 15 kg in park conditions and up to 13 in the wild. The wingspan is about 2.5 meters. The color is white, the head is buffy, the beak is red with a marigold, the paws are black. Young animals have a brownish color, gradually changing to white by the age of 3 years. You can recognize the mute by its dense neck in the shape of the Latin letter "s".

Whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus)

A large bird weighing up to 12 kg. The wingspan is about 2.4 meters, the body is at least 155 cm long, the neck and body are approximately the same length. A distinctive feature is a lemon beak, black at the end. The color of the bird is white, however, young swans of this species are gray with a dark head. The neck is always kept straight, not bent like a mute. They form pairs for life, and the male often remains alone until the end of his life in the event of the death of the female, and vice versa. In captivity, the whooper lifespan reaches 30 years.

Trumpeter swan (Cygnus buccinator)

The trumpeter looks like a whooper in appearance, but the color of its beak is completely black. The plumage is white, the body weight reaches 13 kg, and the length is up to 180 cm. At the end of spring, the breeding season begins for trumpeters, while the female sits on the nest for exactly one month. In total, during the incubation period, she is able to lay 9 eggs. In captivity, trumpeters live up to 30 years, in the wild - up to 10.

American (Cygnus columbianus)

The smallest representative of all species. Its dimensions do not exceed 146 cm in length, and its weight reaches 10 kg. It looks like a whooper, but its neck is shorter, its size is more modest, and its head has a rounded shape. The beak is yellow with an admixture of black. When the female incubates the nest, the male jealously protects her. American swans nest on the outskirts of water bodies, on mossy areas of the tundra. Life expectancy in captivity is about 29 years.

Small (Cygnus bewickii)

Outwardly, it looks like a whooper, the body length is 140 cm, the wingspan is 200-210 cm, the beak is short, yellow-black. Feature: the pattern on the beak is individual for each individual of the same species. Endemic for Russia, in particular for Chukotka and the Kola Peninsula. In terms of its characteristics, it is similar to the American tundra. The lifespan in captivity is up to 20 years. A rare bird, included in the Red Book of the Russian Federation.

Interesting Facts

  1. Birds have a bad temper, they are shy and do not go well with people.
  2. They like to move on water, clumsy on land.
  3. In Britain, catching swans is prohibited by law, and all birds of these species are considered the property of the royal family.
  4. Sometimes black swans can create homosexual couples. After laying the egg, such a pair can even expel the female to incubate the egg in turn.
  5. The warmer the region of habitat, the darker the color of the bird.
  6. These birds are wonderful parents. They babysit their babies up to 2 years old, helping them to get their own food and taking care of them.
  7. An adult bird can attack a person and even break his bone.