The trumpeter swan (Cygnus buccinators) was pushed out of American breeding grounds by development and agriculture, leading to near extinction by the 1930’s. Full protection enabled this species’ recovery and this bird has returned to parts of its former range. Today trumpeter swans are found in Alaska, Canada, and the northern United States. Birds live on land, but always in close proximity to salt, fresh, or brackish water.
The trumpeter swan is North America’s largest swan, weighing up to 10.5 kg (23 lb) Wingspan can often exceeds 2 m (6.6 ft). The trumpeter swan is sometimes confused with the tundra swan, but its neck and bill are longer. The bill also has a relatively straight base. The cygnet’s bill is sometimes pink but is always black at the base. The feet and tarsi legs may be grey-yellow. The body is light to dark grey, and gradually whitens with age. By 2 years of age, most but not all feathers have turned white.
The juvenile diet consists primarily of aquatic invertebrates, however by 5 weeks most cygnets have converted to a nearly herbivorous diet. The adult diet consists of leaves, seeds, tubers, roots, crustaceans, and occasionally small vertebrates and insects.
Image by B. Gratwicke
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To cite this page: Pollock C. Waterfowl commonly seen in practice. December 19, 2012. LafeberVet Web site. Available at https://lafeber.com/vet/waterfowl-commonly-seen-in-practice/