Bewick's Swan Cygnus columbianus   [Ord, 1815]

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Date created: 23-January-2017

Order: Anseriformes Family: Anatidae
BTO Codes: BS, BEWSW EURING No: 1530
Number in Britain: 7000 birds (Winter)
Conservation Status:
UK: AMBER
European: Endangered (winter pop)
Global: Least Concern (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Winter Migrant
Subspecies: bewickii (W), columbianus (V) recorded in Britain (of 2 subsp. in the world)
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Length: 121 cm Wingspan: 196 cm Weight: M: 6.4 kg   F: 5.3 kg    
Scientific name from: L.: cygnus=the swan (from Gr.: kuknos) and after the Columbia river (western US)
World Distribution: BREEDS: tundra in n Eurasia & n North America, WINTERS: south to c Europe & Japan, s Canada & US
Habitat: Lakes, ponds & rivers, also estuaries on migration
Diet: Plant material (e.g. tubers, shoots, leaves) in water or flooded pasture
TitBit: One Bewick's Swan was counted to have 25,216 feathers, its dense feathering providing excellent insulation, and the pattern of yellow on the bill can be used to identify individuals.  
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Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos BTO ID Workshop

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: No population trend available
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore   
British Population Size:
    Winter: 7000 individuals in 2005
    First Record: 1829 [Fossil evidence from Middle Pleistocene, c. 500,000 yr ago]
    Conservation Status: AMBER because Recent Breeding Population Decline (1981-2007), Recent Winter Population Decline (1981-2007), Recent Breeding Range Decline (1981-2010), Recent Winter Range Decline (1981-2010), Important Non-breeding Population
   Previous Assessments: 2009-2014 AMBER     2002-2007 AMBER     1996-2001 AMBER  
   Races of Concern: bewickii AMBER (European Concern)
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    No habitat data from BBS
Migration routes: Map of foreign ringing recoveries  and summary map from Time to Fly (in pop-up windows)
European Population Size:
    Summer: Unavailable
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WCA(I), WBD(I), Bern(III), Bonn(II), AEWA, NERC (41)
Survey Results: Text from the Waterbird Review Series

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 107 x 68 mm Egg Weight: 280.0 g (of which 12 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 0
Clutch Size: 3 - 5 eggs
Incubation: 29- 30 days   by the: Female
Fledging: 40 - 45days as: Precocial, downy
First Clutches Laid: Does not breed in Britain, or too few Nest Records
Number of Broods: 1
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.822       
Juvenile Survival: 0.660 (to age 2 )  
Age at First Breeding: 4 years Typical Lifespan: 9 years
Maximum Age from Ringing: 28 years 1 months 27 days (set in 2011)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries

Biometrics

Ring Size: M*
Wing Length Adult: 508.7 ± 20.6 Range 483 - 549 mm, N =53
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: 518.7 ± 21.0 485 - 549 mm, N =22
Female: 497.3 ± 13.8 473 - 518 mm, N =24
Weight Adult: 5.89 ± 0.78 Range 4.60 - 7.40 kg , N =56
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: 6.27 ± 0.83 5.00 - 7.40 kg , N =22
Female: 5.67 ± 0.63 4.60 - 6.40 kg , N =24
Source:
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

Tundra/Whistling Swan
Gaelic: Eala-bheag Welsh: Alarch Bewick
Danish: Pibesvane Dutch: Kleine zwaan
Finnish: Pikkujoutsen French: Cygne de Bewick
German: Zwergschwan Hungarian: Kis hattyú
Icelandic: Dvergsvanur Irish: Eala Bewick
Italian: Cigno minore Norwegian: Dvergsvane
Polish: Labedz maly Portuguese: Cisne-de-Bewick
Spanish: Cisne chico Swedish: Mindre sångsvan

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Rees, E. 2006 Bewick's Swan Poyser, London [598.484 REE]
   Rees, E. et al. 1997 BWP Update 1:63-74
   Kear, J 2005 Ducks, geese and swans Oxford University Press [598.48 KEA]
Links from ConservationEvidence.com:
See Also:
Google Scholar search for scientific papers
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides
All About Birds (from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology)