Tundra Swan

Nesting in the Arctic tundra, this well-named species
is North America’s most widespread and smallest swan.
Two populations exist, with one wintering in the West, and the
other along the East Coast. The Tundra Swan can be confused
with the Trumpeter Swan, but their different calls immediately
distinguish the two species.

 When they are silent, weight and bill
structure are the best way to tell them apart. In Eurasia, this
species is known as Bewick’s Swan and possesses a larger yellow
patch at the base of its bill.

Tundra Swans have high-pitched honking calls and sound similar to a black goose (Branta). They are particularly vocal when foraging in flocks on their wintering grounds; any conspecific arriving or leaving will elicit a bout of loud excited calling from its fellows. Contrary to its common name, the ground calls of the Whistling Swan are not a whistle and neither notably different from that of Bewick's Swan. The flight call of the latter is a low and soft ringing bark, bow-wow.

the Whistling Swan gives a markedly high-pitched trisyllabic bark like wow-wow-wow in flight. By contrast, the Whooper and Trumpeter Swans' names accurately describe their calls – a deep hooting and a higher-pitched French horn-like honk, respectively.

 Flying birds of these species are shorter-necked and have a quicker wingbeat than their relatives, but they are often impossible to tell apart except by their calls.


The Tundra Swans mate in the late spring, usually after they have returned to the nestinggrounds; as usual for swans, they pair monogamously until one partner dies. 

Should one partner die long before the other, the surviving bird often will not mate again for some years, or even for its entire life. The nesting season starts at the end of May.

 The pair build the large mound-shaped nest from plant material at an elevated site near open water, and defend a large territory around it. 

The pen (female) lays and incubates a clutch of 2–7 (usually 3–5) eggs, watching for danger while sitting on the nest. The cob (male) keeps a steady lookout for potential predators heading towards his mate and offspring. 

Clear, high-pitched yodelling whoo-hooo calls mixed with
garbles, yelping, and barking sounds.

Mound-shaped nest made of plant matter near water;
3–6 eggs; 1 brood; May–September.

Eats aquatic vegetation, insects, mollusks; also grain.