Whooper Swan

The Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus) is a large swan of the Northern Hemisphere. It is the Old World counterpart of the North American Trumpeter Swan.

Whooper is similar in appearance to the Bewick’s Swan but it is larger, at 140-160cm length and a 205-235cm wingspan. It has a more angular head shape and a more variable bill pattern that always shows more yellow than black ““ whereas Bewick’s Swans have more black than yellow.

Their breeding habitat is the wetlands of subarctic Eurasia, further south than Bewick’s in the taiga zone. These are monogamous birds, mating for life, and their cygnets stay with them all winter; they are sometimes joined by offspring from previous years.

They are migratory wintering in northern Europe and eastern Asia. They are rare breeders in northern Scotland, particularly in the Orkney Isles, but no more than five pairs have bred in recent years. This bird is an occasional visitor to western North America.

Icelandic breeders overwinter in England and Ireland, especially in the wildfowl nature reserves of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust .

These birds feed mainly by grazing on farmland on coasts or inland flood plains. They have a deep honking call.