The Whooper Swan has a completely white plumage, the beak is yellow with a black tip, and the legs and feet are dark-grey to black. The male (Cob) is similar to the female (Pen) but is usually slightly larger. They are similar to the Bewick’s Swan but has more yellow on its beak and is a slightly larger bird.
They require large areas of water to live in, especially when they are still growing, because their body weight cannot be supported by their legs for extended periods of time. The whooper swan spends much of its time swimming, straining the water for food, or eating plants that grow on the bottom
Size: – Typical Adult is 55-63 inches.
Food: – Aquatic plants, sedges, pond-weed which they can reach with their long necks, and they will also graze on grass when out of water. They will also eat animal matter such as insect larvae, tadpoles, small fish, small frogs, worms, and molluscs.
Habitat: – They inhabit wetlands, lakes, rivers, estuaries, marshes, floodplains, and pasture in north Scandinavia, Russia, and Siberia. Winters further south in western Europe including the UK, Mediterranean, Black sea, Caspian Sea, north India, China, and Japan.
Breeding Season: – Late May in Iceland, or mid-June further north. Both the male and female help build the nest, and the male will stand guard over the nest while the female incubates.
Eggs: – 5 to 6 (creamy-white color).
Notes: – This swan is the Eurasian counterpart of the North American Trumpeter Swan. They are quite noisy birds with a deep honking call and despite their size are strong fliers. They spend much of their time swimming, straining the water for food, or eating plants that grow on the bottom.
When they prepare to go on a flight as a flock, they use a variety of signaling movements to communicate with each other. These movements include head bobs, head shakes, and wing flaps and influence whether the flock will take flight and if so, which individual will take the lead. They can migrate hundreds or even thousands of miles to their wintering sites in southern Europe and eastern Asia.
They pair for life, and their cygnets stay with them all winter; they are sometimes joined by offspring from previous years. Very noisy; the calls are strident, similar to those of Bewick’s Swan but more resonant and lower-pitched on average: kloo-kloo-kloo in groups of three or four.