Comprehensive Guide to selected species of:
Birds of the Boreal Forest « back to Guide
Trumpeter Swan Cygnus buccinator
Family: Ducks and Geese, Anatidae
Audio: Martyn Stewart, © Naturesound.org
An estimated 57% of the species' North American population breeds within the Boreal Forest.
Description 60-72" (1.5-1.8 m). One of North America's largest birds. Adult similar to Tundra Swan but larger, with all-black bill. Young birds dusky gray-brown; bill pink with black base and tip. Mute Swan (Cygnus olor), an introduced species and a tame pond bird, is smaller, with black knob at base of orange bill; holds neck in graceful curve.
Habitat Marshes, lakes, or rivers with dense vegetation.
Nesting 4-6 whitish eggs in a huge nest on a bulrush-covered island or a beaver lodge.
Voice A bugling ko-hoh, lower-pitched than Tundra Swan's call.
Range Breeds in southern Alaska, northern British Columbia, western Alberta, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Winters in southeastern Alaska, western British Columbia, and on open water in United States breeding range.
Discussion Draining of marshes, hunting, and other disturbances, along with a low rate of reproduction, brought the Trumpeter Swan close to extinction by the beginning of this century. Conservation measures, including reintroductions, have allowed it to increase from a very small number in the 1930s to more than 6,000 today, with 4,500 of these in Alaska.