• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer
Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Trumpeter Swan

Cygnus buccinator ORDER: ANSERIFORMES FAMILY: ANATIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

The largest of North American waterfowl, the Trumpeter Swan is resident throughout much of its range, but migratory in other parts. Its was reduced to near extinction by the early 20th century, but it is relatively common today.

Bird Festivals
Be a Better Birder Tutorial 4

At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
54.3–62.2 in
138–158 cm
Wingspan
79.9 in
203 cm
Weight
271.6–448 oz
7700–12700 g
Other Names
  • Cygne trompette (French)
  • Cisne (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Trumpeter Swan was hunted for its feathers throughout the 1600s - 1800s, causing a tremendous decline in its numbers. Its largest flight feathers made what were considered to be the best quality quill pens.
  • Swans can live a long time. Wild Trumpeter Swans have been known to live longer than 24 years, and one captive individual lived to be 32.
  • Trumpeter Swans form pair bonds when they are three or four years old. The pair stays together throughout the year, moving together in migratory populations. Trumpeters are assumed to mate for life, but some individuals do switch mates over their lifetimes. Some males that lost their mates did not mate again.

Habitat


Lake/Pond

Breeds in freshwater marshes and along ponds and lakes. Winters in lakes, streams, springs, rivers, and reservoirs.

Food


Plants

Submerged and emergent aquatic vegetation, grasses, grains.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
1–9 eggs
Egg Description
Creamy white.
Condition at Hatching
Covered with down and eyes open. Leaves nest within 24 hours of hatching and has the ability to swim and feed.
Nest Description

Nest a large open bowl, made of aquatic vegetation, grasses, and sedges, lined with down and some body feathers. Usually placed on slightly elevated sites surrounded by water, such as a muskrat mound, beaver lodge, or small island.

Nest Placement

Ground

Behavior


Dabbler

Tips up to reach submerged aquatic vegetation.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Original declines were the result of commercial trade in swan skins and excessive hunting. Populations generally increasing. Several states and provinces have programs to reintroduce Trumpeter Swans.

Credits

  • Mitchell, Carl D. 1994. Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator). In The Birds of North America, No. 105 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.

Range Map Help

Trumpeter Swan Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings