Tag Archives: Swans

Swans of Iowa (3 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. All three species can be found in Iowa annually. Here is everything you need to know about these species.

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan
Identification

Adult Trumpeter Swans are bright white birds with a black bill extending to the eyes. Their legs are black. They can be differentiated from Tundra Swans by having a more bell-shaped head, and a more “V-shaped” forehead when looking at the bird head on, compared to the “u-shaped” forehead of the Tundra Swan.

Range

Trumpeter Swans are common year-round in select areas of North America and have a spotty wintering distribution that moves north in the summer to parts of northern North America.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Trumpeter Swans feed mostly on aquatic vegetation such as roots and stems of aquatic plants. They can often be seen with their heads underwater and backsides up as they feed.

Where to Find this Bird

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

Tundra Swan

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!

Be sure to check out the Badgerland Birding YouTube channel for videos on all things bird related.

Swans of Illinois (3 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. All three species can be found in Illinois annually. Here is everything you need to know about these species.

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan
Identification

Adult Trumpeter Swans are bright white birds with a black bill extending to the eyes. Their legs are black. They can be differentiated from Tundra Swans by having a more bell-shaped head, and a more “V-shaped” forehead when looking at the bird head on, compared to the “u-shaped” forehead of the Tundra Swan.

Range

Trumpeter Swans are common year-round in select areas of North America and have a spotty wintering distribution that moves north in the summer to parts of northern North America.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Trumpeter Swans feed mostly on aquatic vegetation such as roots and stems of aquatic plants. They can often be seen with their heads underwater and backsides up as they feed.

Where to Find this Bird

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

Tundra Swan

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!

Be sure to check out the Badgerland Birding YouTube channel for videos on all things bird related.

Swans of Michigan (3 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. All three species can be found in Michigan annually. Here is everything you need to know about these species.

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan
Identification

Adult Trumpeter Swans are bright white birds with a black bill extending to the eyes. Their legs are black. They can be differentiated from Tundra Swans by having a more bell-shaped head, and a more “V-shaped” forehead when looking at the bird head on, compared to the “u-shaped” forehead of the Tundra Swan.

Range

Trumpeter Swans are common year-round in select areas of North America and have a spotty wintering distribution that moves north in the summer to parts of northern North America.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Trumpeter Swans feed mostly on aquatic vegetation such as roots and stems of aquatic plants. They can often be seen with their heads underwater and backsides up as they feed.

Where to Find this Bird

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

Tundra Swan

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!

Be sure to check out the Badgerland Birding YouTube channel for videos on all things bird related.

Swans of West Virginia (3 Species to Know)

Swans are iconic birds known for their elegance and grace. But did you know there are only 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 West Virginia annually and one can very rarely be found in the state. Here is everything you need to know about these species.

Trumpeter Swan (Rare)

Trumpeter Swan

Identification

Adult Trumpeter Swans are bright white birds with a black bill extending to the eyes. Their legs are black. They can be differentiated from Tundra Swans by having a more bell-shaped head, and a more “v-shaped” forehead when looking at the bird head on, compared to the “u-shaped” forehead of the Tundra Swan.

Range

Trumpeter Swans are common year round in select areas of North America and have a spotty wintering distribution that moves north in the summer to parts of northern North America.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Trumpeter Swans feed mostly on aquatic vegetation such as roots and stems of aquatic plants. They can often be seen with their heads underwater and backsides up as they feed.

Find this Bird

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

Tundra Swan

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.

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.

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!

Be sure to check out the Badgerland Birding YouTube channel for videos on all things bird related.

Swans of New York (3 Species to Know)

Swans are iconic birds known for their elegance and grace. But did you know there are only 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 New York annually and one can very rarely be found in the state. Here is everything you need to know about these species.

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan

Identification

Adult Trumpeter Swans are bright white birds with a black bill extending to the eyes. Their legs are black. They can be differentiated from Tundra Swans by having a more bell-shaped head, and a more “v-shaped” forehead when looking at the bird head on, compared to the “u-shaped” forehead of the Tundra Swan.

Range

Trumpeter Swans are common year round in select areas of North America and have a spotty wintering distribution that moves north in the summer to parts of northern North America.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Trumpeter Swans feed mostly on aquatic vegetation such as roots and stems of aquatic plants. They can often be seen with their heads underwater and backsides up as they feed.

Find this Bird

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

Tundra Swan

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.

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.

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!

Be sure to check out the Badgerland Birding YouTube channel for videos on all things bird related.

Swans of Delaware (3 Species to Know)

Swans are iconic birds known for their elegance and grace. But did you know there are only 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 Delaware annually and one can very rarely be found in the state. Here is everything you need to know about these species.

Trumpeter Swan (Rare)

Trumpeter Swan

Identification

Adult Trumpeter Swans are bright white birds with a black bill extending to the eyes. Their legs are black. They can be differentiated from Tundra Swans by having a more bell-shaped head, and a more “v-shaped” forehead when looking at the bird head on, compared to the “u-shaped” forehead of the Tundra Swan.

Range

Trumpeter Swans are common year round in select areas of North America and have a spotty wintering distribution that moves north in the summer to parts of northern North America.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Trumpeter Swans feed mostly on aquatic vegetation such as roots and stems of aquatic plants. They can often be seen with their heads underwater and backsides up as they feed.

Find this Bird

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

Trumpeter Swans are extremely rare in Delaware with just a few reports in the last ten years.

Tundra Swan

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.

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.

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!

Be sure to check out the Badgerland Birding YouTube channel for videos on all things bird related.

Swans of Indiana (3 Species to Know)

Swans are iconic birds known for their elegance and grace. But did you know there are only 7 difference species of swans in the world, and only 3 species that breed in North America? All three species can be found in Indiana annually. Here is everything you need to know about these species.

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan

Identification

Adult Trumpeter Swans are bright white birds with a black bill extending to the eyes. Their legs are black. They can be differentiated from Tundra Swans by having a more bell-shaped head, and a more “v-shaped” forehead when looking at the bird head on, compared to the “u-shaped” forehead of the Tundra Swan.

Range

Trumpeter Swans are common year round in select areas of North America and have a spotty wintering distribution that moves north in the summer to parts of northern North America.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Trumpeter Swans feed mostly on aquatic vegetation such as roots and stems of aquatic plants. They can often be seen with their heads underwater and backsides up as they feed.

Find this Bird

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

Tundra Swan

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.

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.

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!

Be sure to check out the Badgerland Birding YouTube channel for videos on all things bird related.

Swans of Wisconsin (4 Species to Know)

Swans are iconic birds known for their elegance and grace. But did you know there are only 7 different species of swans in the world, and only 3 species that are reliably found in Wisconsin (with one exotic species that is also sometimes seen)?

Swans that Breed in Wisconsin (2 Species)

These species regularly breed in Wisconsin and can be found commonly in certain areas.

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan

Identification

Adult Trumpeter Swans are bright white birds with a black bill extending to the eyes. Their legs are black. They can be differentiated from Tundra Swans by having a more bell-shaped head, and a more “v-shaped” forehead when looking at the bird head on, compared to the “u-shaped” forehead of the Tundra Swan.

Range

Trumpeter Swans move into Wisconsin during the summer, sometimes flocking with Tundra Swans. Some individuals remain in the state to breed before leaving in the fall.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Trumpeter Swans feed mostly on aquatic vegetation such as roots and stems of aquatic plants. They can often be seen with their heads underwater and backsides up as they feed.

Find this Bird

Look for Trumpeter Swans in or near water, in marshes, or in open or grassy fields, often in large flocks. They can also be found in mixed flocks with other swan species. In Wisconsin, Horicon Marsh is a reliable place to find Trumpeter Swans. They breed at Horicon, and are a signature species of the marsh.

Horicon Marsh is a great place to see Trumpeter Swans in the summer.

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. Mute Swans can be found in Wisconsin year round and some pairs do breed in the state.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

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

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.

Swans that Migrate Through Wisconsin (1 Species)

Tundra Swan

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. In Wisconsin, Tundra Swans can be seen as they migrate through during the spring and fall, but can sometimes be found in winter months.

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.

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. In Wisconsin, they will often be seen in large flocks out on ice, in fields, or flying overhead. They may also be in mixed flocks with Trumpeter Swans.

Swans that Occasionally Show Up in Wisconsin as “Exotics” (1 Species)

Whooper Swan

Whooper Swan (Jura Tone Image)
Identification

The Whooper Swan is a large white swan with black legs, and a black and yellow bill, with the yellow extending to the eye.

Range

Whooper Swans are native in parts of Europe and Asia, but sometimes show up as vagrant birds in Alaska, Canada, and the Northwestern United States. In Wisconsin, they sometimes show up as a non-countable “exotic” species when individuals escape from farms.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Whooper Swans feed on plant material such as roots, stems, leaves, and grasses. They can often be seen picking at vegetation on shore or with their backends up, feeding on water plants.

Find this Bird

Most Whooper Swans found in the United States will be escaped pets with the exception of those in Alaska, Canada, or the Northwestern United States. The circumstances of each individual siting should be evaluated as to where the bird originated from. In general, Swans are often only seen by bodies of water, and can be seen in the water or on the banks.

If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and a comment. Also be sure to check out the Badgerland Birding YouTube Channel.

Swans of North America (7 Species to Know)

Swans are iconic birds known for their elegance and grace. But did you know there are only 7 difference species of swans in the world, and only 3 species that breed in North America?

Swans that Breed in North America (3 Species)

These species regularly breed in North America and can be found in many different locations in the United States on an annual basis.

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan

Identification

Adult Trumpeter Swans are bright white birds with a black bill extending to the eyes. Their legs are black. They can be differentiated from Tundra Swans by having a more bell-shaped head, and a more “v-shaped” forehead when looking at the bird head on, compared to the “u-shaped” forehead of the Tundra Swan.

Range

Trumpeter Swans are common year round in select areas of North America and have a spotty wintering distribution that moves north in the summer to parts of northern North America.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Trumpeter Swans feed mostly on aquatic vegetation such as roots and stems of aquatic plants. They can often be seen with their heads underwater and backsides up as they feed.

Find this Bird

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

Horicon Marsh is a great place to see Trumpeter Swans in the summer.

Tundra Swan

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.

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.

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.

Swans that Occasionally Show Up in North America (1 Species)

Whooper Swan

Whooper Swan (Jura Tone Image)
Identification

The Whooper Swan is a large white swan with black legs, and a black and yellow bill, with the yellow extending to the eye.

Range

Whooper Swans are native in parts of Europe and Asia, but sometimes show up as vagrant birds in Alaska, Canada, and the Northwestern United States. Sometimes they also escape from farms and show up as a non-countable “exotic” species.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Whooper Swans feed on plant material such as roots, stems, leaves, and grasses. They can often be seen picking at vegetation on shore or with their backends up, feeding on water plants.

Find this Bird

Most Whooper Swans found in the United States will be escaped pets with the exception of those in Alaska, Canada, or the Northwestern United States. The circumstances of each individual siting should be evaluated as to where the bird originated from. In general, Swans are often only seen by bodies of water, and can be seen in the water or on the banks.

Swans that may be seen as Exotic Escaped Pets (3 Species)

Sometimes swans may escape from a zoo or as someone’s pet or farm animal. They can sometimes adapt to the environment and survive as exotics. If you see the following swans in the United States, they are likely an escaped exotic bird.

Black Swan

Black Swan (Photo by Jeff Hollett)
Identification

The Black Swan is a striking bird that can be identified by its all black body, and red bill with white near the tip.

Range

Black Swans are native to Australia but have show up in many other places as escaped pets or farm animals.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Black Swans feed mostly on plant material such as algae and aquatic vegetation.

Where to Find this Bird

Black Swans can be seen near bodies of water. Occasionally, escaped birds can be seen repeatedly in the same location. In North America, they are almost always escaped exotic birds.

Coscoroba Swan

Coscoroba Swan (Wildlife Terry Photo)
Identification

The smallest of the Swans, the Coscoroba Swan can be identified by its white body, and pinkish orange bill and feet.

Range

The Coscoroba Swan is endemic to Southern South America, but may show up in North America as an escaped pet.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Coscoroba Swans feed on mostly plant vegetation, insects, and fish.

Where to Find this Bird

In North America, keep an eye out for these birds as escaped pets or farm birds by parks, or really any area with water.

Black-necked Swan

Black-necked Swan (Wildlife Terry Photo)
Identification

Black-necked Swans are white with pink legs, a slate colored bill, black neck and head with white markings, and a red growth above their bill.

Range

Black-necked Swans are not native to North America, however some domesticated individuals have ended up at parks or urban ponds. Black-necked Swans are native to Southern South America.

Diet and Foraging Behavior

Black-necked Swans feed mostly on aquatic vegetation, fish eggs, and insects.

Where to Find this Bird

Black-necked Swans can be found in swamps, lakes, rivers, or other large bodies of water. In North America, any sightings are likely of escaped pets or birds from farms or zoos.

Have you seen any of these swans before? Let us know in the comments below, and we hope you found this information helpful!