Tag Archives: Swans of Maine

Swans of Maine (2 Species to Know)

Swans are iconic birds known for their elegance and grace. There are 7 difference species of swans in the world, and only 3 species that breed in North America. Two of these three species can be found in Maine. Here is everything you need to know about these species.

Tundra Swan (Rare)

Tundra Swan (Michael Schramm/USFWS)
Identification

Adult Tundra Swans are bright white birds with a black bill extending to the eyes. Their legs are black. They can be differentiated from Trumpeter Swans by having a more slender head and “u-shaped forehead when looking at it head on, compared to a more “V-shaped” forehead and bell-shaped head of the Trumpeter Swan. Tundra Swans will sometimes have yellow markings on their bill, but these should not be used as a sole identification marker since Trumpeter Swans and other swan species can have these as well.

Range

Tundra Swans winter in eastern and western North America and migrate through northern North America to their breeding grounds in the far north.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Tundra Swans feed mostly on aquatic vegetation such as roots and stems of aquatic plants, as well as seeds, algae, and grains. They can often be seen with their heads underwater and backsides up as they feed.

Where to Find this Bird

Look for Tundra Swans in or near water, in marshes, or in open or grassy fields, often in massive flocks during migration. They can also be found in mixed flocks with other swan species.

Mute Swan

Mute Swan
Identification

Mute Swans are large white birds with a long neck, black legs, orange bill, and black knob on the forehead.

Range

Mute Swans are native to Europe and Asia but have been introduced into parts of North America. Certain populations breed in North America while other individuals may be escaped pets or farm birds.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Mute Swans feed on aquatic vegetation, mussels, worms, small fish, frogs, and other small vertebrates.

Where to Find this Bird

Mute Swans are normally seen as individual birds or in pairs and tower over smaller geese species. They can be found in marshes, open water lakes, or small urban ponds.

Summary

Swans are certainly impressive and elegant birds. Knowing which swans are likely in your state can be a major help when observing them in the field. Have you seen any of these swans before? Let us know in the comments below, and we hope you found this information helpful!

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