Trumpeter Swan Facts | Anatomy, Diet, Habitat, Behavior

The trumpeter swan (Cygnus buccinator) is a North American bird that breeds all along Alaska to as far south to Montana. It is also capable to float in the water and needs a large amount of energy to lift the body from water. Trumpeter swan is a migratory bird and it is thought to fly at high altitudes achieving great speeds.

Trumpeter Swan Facts


  • Adult swan grow about 138–165 cm (4 ft 6 in–5 ft 5 in) in length. Large males may reach a total length of 180 cm (71 in).
  • Male swans average 10.9 to 12.7 kg (24 to 28 lb) in weight while females weigh 9.4 to 10.3 kg (21 to 23 lb).
  • Trumpeter swan is one of the heaviest living birds that are able to take flight.
  • Adults have a wingspan measuring up to 185 to 250 cm (6 ft 1 in to 8 ft 2 in) with the wing chord averaging 60–68 cm (24–27 in).
  • The plumage of trumpeter swan is all white and the wedge-shaped bill is all black. The bill is 10.5–12 cm (4.1–4.7 in) long.
  • The call of the trumpeter swan is very similar to that produce by whooper swans and Bewick’s swans. Generally they are noisy birds.
  • The length of the swan is nearly twice the length of its body.
  • There are tooth-like ridges in a bill that serve as a strainer while eating.
  • When swans are one year old they show grayish brown plumage.
trumpeter swan facts
Trumpeter Swan ©

Range & Habitat

  • Trumpeter swans are thought to make homes in a wide variety of wet habitats such as shallow ponds, wide slow rivers, undisturbed lakes, and marshes.
  • It occurs in the United States including northwester North America. Alaska hosts the largest concentration of trumpeter swans. Swan’s range extends east to Saskatchewan, Wyoming, Nevada, and Montana.
  • They are likely to spend winter in the southern Canada. Some of its population is also found in Colorado, Texas, southern California, Arkansas, and Mexico.


  • Trumpeter swans are highly territorial as they rarely tolerate other animals entering their territory.
  • It is thought to actively defend nests year after year.
  • The global population of trumpeter swan is 10,000.
  • They fly in V-shaped formation in groups consisting of 3 – 5 individuals. Sometimes swans may form large groups of 25 – 30 birds during migration.
  • Adult swan eats 20 pounds of vegetation each day.
  • Male swan is called a cob while the female is known as

Feeding Ecology & Diet

  • The trumpeter swan typically consumes aquatic plants that remain submerged in water. They eat while swimming in the water.
  • Swans are likely to feed on leaves, stems of vegetation, roots or tubers in muddy land. During winter trumpeter swans will gather on the agricultural fields to eat grasses and grains.
  • The feeding takes place both at night and day. In the spring season, swans begin to eat more probably for breeding.
  • The trumpeter swan’s diet consists of small fish, crustaceans, insects, crustaceans, and green vegetation that are good enough to provide them protein.
  • It prefers to feed on waterweeds as well as seeds of yellow pond lily.
trumpeter swan facts
Trumpeter Swan ©

Reproductive Biology

  • Trumpeter swans are monogamous birds as they remain faithful throughout their entire life. Sometimes it so happens that if one of the parents dies the other one remain alone for the rest of his life.
  • The female do most of the incubating. They are likely to pair when they become 5 – 7 years of age.
  • The incubation period lasts 32 – 37 days. Young begin to swim 48 hours after they are born. They can eat on their own after 14 days.
  • Young fledge out in about 90 – 120 days.
  • The breeding season ranges from April to May.
  • A female lays 3 – 12 eggs in a nest which is on a mound of plant. The pair may use the same nesting site again.
  • Swan’s eggs measure 73 millimeters (2.9 in) in width with the length averaging 113.5 millimeters (4.5 in). The average weight of eggs is about 320 grams (11.3 oz).
  • Trumpeter swan’s eggs are the largest of any living extant bird’s.
  • Baby swans are called
  • The maximum lifespan of trumpeter swan is 24 years in the wild while the captive bird has lived up to 33 years max.
  • Trumpeter swans become mature at 4 – 6 years of age. The breeding interval is one year.
  • They use different materials for building nest such as grasses, aquatic vegetation, and sedges. The nest seems like an open bowl with the diameter measuring at 2 to 3.6 m (3.9 to 11.8 ft). It is 1 – 3 inches deep.
  • Predators of swans include wolverine, wolves, mountain lions, northern river otter, common snapping turtle, common raven, common raccoon, brown bear, American black bear, coyote, great horned owl, red fox, red-tailed eagle, American mink, bobcat, bald eagle, and golden eagle.

Conservation Status

Least Concern

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