Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Bewick's Swan (Cygnus columbianus)

OTHER NAMES: Tundra Swan
Latin Etymology: Cygnus ("swan") columbianus ("of Colombia")
Adult Bewick's Swan (subspecies C. c. bewickii) at Rutland Water, Rutland - December 2011

Featured Subspecies: Cygnus columbianus bewickii
Weight: 3.4-9.6g  /  Length: 115-150cm  /  Wingspan: 170-210cm,
UK AMBER LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The smallest of the three swans that are found in the UK, the Bewick's Swan is still a rather substantial bird.  Unlike the resident Mute Swan familiar to everyone, the other two species are purely Winter visitors, and are generally found at only a few sites where they congregate in very big numbers.  However, because they are migrants they can in theory turn up on any body of water big enough to support them.  Both migrant swans have yellow and black beaks rather than orange/black - the Bewick's can be differentiated by the yellow forming a round shape rather than a wedge as in the Whooper swan, and of course, the smaller size.

Related Species:
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Cygnus
Subspecies: C. c. columbianus, C.c. bewickii

 - Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - A fairly scarce and local Winter migrant (approx. 2600 birds)
 - Flock of four Wintering birds seen on Rutland Water in 2011

Further Notes: BirdForum OpusBirdGuidesRSPBWikipedia, Xeno-canto

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