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Trumpeter Swan

Silhouette SwansSwans
Trumpeter SwanCygnus buccinator
  • ORDER: Anseriformes
  • FAMILY: Anatidae

Basic Description

Trumpeter Swans demand superlatives: they’re our biggest native waterfowl, stretching to 6 feet in length and weighing more than 25 pounds - almost twice as massive as a Tundra Swan. Getting airborne requires a lumbering takeoff along a 100-yard runway. Despite their size, this once-endangered, now recovering species is as elegant as any swan, with a graceful neck and snowy-white plumage. They breed on wetlands in remote Alaska, Canada, and the northwestern U.S., and winter on ice-free coastal and inland waters.

More ID Info
image of range map for Trumpeter Swan
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Look for these enormous swans on relatively shallow water or in agricultural fields. They’ll be straighter-necked than Mute Swans (and more likely to be in wild habitats rather than city ponds); and they’ll be considerably larger than the similar Tundra Swan. Trumpeter Swans have expanded their range in recent years as they continue their comeback from near-extinction. In fact, the species now nests across a broad swath of the Midwest/Great Lakes and in scattered portions of the Northern Rockies - meaning that in summer you’re more likely to find this species than the much more numerous Tundra Swan. Look for them in shallow ponds, lakes, rivers, and marshes. During migration and winter, you may also find Trumpeter Swans feeding in harvested agricultural fields.

Other Names

  • Cisne Trompetero (Spanish)
  • Cygne trompette (French)
  • Cool Facts