Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan Cygnus buccinator

Type of Animal:

Wetlands, lakes, ponds, marshes, open wooded areas, prairies, estuaries (especially tidal ones), rivers, streams, harvested agricultural fields, cropland, shallow undisturbed bodies of freshwater w/ abundant aquatic plants, open water, beaver/muskrat dens (for nesting), small islands, inlets w/ moving water, springs, reservoirs, deep ponds of reclaimed surface mines, pastures, bays, coastal areas, brackish areas, forests, tundra, can be found in fresh, brackish, & saltwater,

Historically found in Alaska, Canada, & almost all lower 48 (wintering in southern areas like Florida & Texas)-now fragmented but still found in Canada, Alaska, W, C, & N part of continental US. Still winters in parts of California, Texas, Louisiana etc. Also winters in parts of N Mexico

Largest waterfowl species in world, adults white w/ wedge-shaped black bills, juveniles/cygnets darker w/ light gray plumage & pinkish legs, legs typically gray-pink but can be yellowish-gray or black

Aquatic plants, roots, tubers, leaves, stems, rhizomes, grasses, shoots, waste crops, grains, vegetables, vegetable/tuber crops, algae, insects, insect larvae, worms, small fish, fish eggs, small crustaceans

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos, wildlife parks, & breeding centers. Reintroductions into areas of former range.

Flocks range from 2-50 birds. Break off into monogamous pairs for breeding/nesting season.

Additional Info:

Male: Cob
Female: Pen
Young: Cygnet
Group: Flock/Bevy
Male: 30 lbs
Female: 21 lbs
Young: 8 lbs

4-5 weeks

Life Span:
15-25 years

Male: 4 ft
Female: 3.5 ft

Body Length:
Male: 4.82 ft
Female: 4.76 ft

Tail Length:
0.4 ft, same for both sexes

Main predators of adults are bears, wolves, coyotes, foxes, eagles, bobcats, wolverines, great horned owls, otters, dogs, & mountain lions. Snapping turtles, hawks, owls, mink, ravens, & California gulls eat cygnets. Raccoons sometimes take subadults.
Sexually mature at 2 years old-choose mates w/ highly vocal courtship displays.” Triumph ceremony” involves birds facing each other, raising wings, & calling loudly. Once mates chosen, they stay together for life-only taking new mate if 1 dies.
Females have 6.5 ft wingspan, males have an 8 ft wingspan.
Driven almost to extinction by early 20th century due to hunting for feathers/skin/eggs/meat.  
N America’s heaviest flying bird.
Warm eggs by covering them w/ webbed feet.
Cygnets stay w/ parents for up to a year.
Usually breed in spring.
Fun Fact(s):
Highly territorial during breeding/nesting season, even attacking people & dogs, striking w/ wings.
Children’s book Trumpet of the Swan about voiceless swan named Louis who plays trumpet to court partner Serena.

1 thought on “Trumpeter Swan

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