Tundra Swans refer to two subspecies of swans: Whistling Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus) of North America and Bewick’s Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus bewickii) of Eurasia.
Tundra Swans are identifiable because of the yellow patches at the base of their bills. Bewick’s Tundra Swans have a more pronounced yellow patch than the Whistling Tundra Swan. Sometimes, there is no yellow patch on the Whistling Tundra Swan. But, they both have entirely white bodies with long necks and black legs and feet.
Juvenile Whistling Tundra Swans are pale brown with white highlights and a mostly pink bill with black tip and base.
- Cygnus columbianus
- Length: 487 – 58 in (119 – 147 cm)
- Weight: 370.37 oz (10496 g)
- Wingspan: 72 – 84 in (183 – 213 cm)
Tundra Swans are found in North America, Europe, and parts of East Asia. In North America, they breed predominantly in the arctic tundra of Alaska and Canada before migrating to the United States for winter.
Habitat And Diet
You can find Tundra Swans, as their name suggests, on Arctic tundra. They mostly form flocks in wetlands, marshy lakes, ponds, estuaries, and bays. They also flock together in agricultural fields.
Tundra Swans mostly eat aquatic vegetation, which they forage for by sticking their head underwater. They also use their large webbed feet to dig around the bottom. They also eat grass and grass-like vegetation when on land. Crops, like potatoes and corn, are their diet when they’re on agricultural fields, especially after harvest time.
Tundra Swans Call:
Nests of Tundra Swans are usually built as mound-shaped nests near open water. They are built from plant materials available in the area. The female lays four to five eggs which she incubates for up to forty days until they hatch.
The Tundra Swan used to be called “Whistling Swan” because of the sound their wings make in flight.