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Whooper Swan
Cygnus cygnus


The Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus) is natural to the North Atlantic Ocean's islands, Europe and Asia. It nests to the north of these continents and in Greenland. During fall it moves to places where the cold is not as severe; as the northern Mediterranean, Caspian Sea, the Pacific coast of China and Japan.


During winter they can be found in inland lakes, estuaries, marshes, rivers and bays. During this time in Japan they are occasionally seen on the rice stubble fields.


Breeding season starts in May or June. The usual clutch is made up of five or six eggs. Incubation is preformed by the female and takes about 31 days. The nest is made on the ground and could be of considerable dimensions.


By paddling their legs they expose the roots of the aquatic plants on the bottom. Then the head and neck are submerged to get the roots and other parts of the underwater vegetation. Other water birds, like ducks, take advantage of the work done by these swans and follow them as they feed.

In winter, since the mid 1900's, as other species within the family, this swan has changed to more terrestrial feeding; this behavior has increased ever since.


As the other white swans, the Whooper Swan is a big bird. The adult males reach a length of 1.65 meters (about 5 feet 6 inches) with an average weight of 10.8 Kg (about 24 pounds), some weighing as much as 12 Kg. (over 26 pounds). The females are slightly smaller, with an average weight of 8.1 Kg. (almost 18 pounds).

Adults of both sexes have white plumage.


Can be identified from the other white swans by the color of the beak. On this species half the beak, at the base, is yellow.


The Whooper Swan in Spanish is known as “Cisne Cantor”.

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Last revision: February 1, 2007
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