Tundra Swan

Tundra Swans are large white waterfowl with black bills. Yellow spots on the base of their bills directly in front of their eyes and slightly smaller size help distinguish Tundra Swans from Trumpeter Swans.
SCIENTIFIC NAME
Cygnus columbianus
CLASSIFICATION
Bird
LIFE SPAN
15-20 Years
SIZE
47-58 ” | 8.5-23 lbs
STATE CONSERVATION STATUS
  • State Protected
FEDERAL CONSERVATION STATUS
Least Concern
GAME STATUS
Game
GAME TYPE
Waterfowl
  1. Washoe
  2. Humboldt
  3. Pershing
  4. Churchill
  5. Mineral
  6. Lyon
  7. Douglas
  8. Carson City
  9. Storey
  1. Elko
  2. Lander
  3. Eureka
  4. White Pine
  1. Esmeralda
  2. Nye
  3. Lincoln
  4. Clark

Habitat & Range

The Tundra Swan breeds in the arctic tundra on lakes, large rivers, and bays near the coast. When migrating and during the winter they prefer shallow water such as marshes, slow-moving streams and rivers, and even flooded agricultural lands. In Nevada, they are typically found during the winter and during migration in the northern parts of the state.

  • Agricultural Lands
  • Lakes and reservoirs
  • Marsh

Threats

  • Drought
  • Habitat Loss
  • Invasive Species
  • Water Diversion

Natural History

Tundra Swans form strong pair bonds that may last for years. They have one brood per year that ranges between three and seven eggs. If the temperature is warmer, they will have more eggs. Eggs are laid in a large nest on the ground, and both male and female incubate the eggs as well as help with rearing the cygnets. Shortly after hatching, cygnets are mobile, however they remain with both their parents most of their first year.
These swans are very social and interact often with other swans within their populations. They have a social structure within their groups and families of swans form a unit including both the male, female, and their cygnets. Unpaired swans are ranked lower in the hierarchy.
Tundra Swans are herbivores and consume many different types of wild grasses. They will use their beaks to dig up tubers and roots underwater. They will consume the occasional aquatic invertebrate.

Fun Facts

Tundra Swan feathers are often used for down jackets, pillows, and comforters. The Tundra Swan call sounds kind of like a loud whistle that earned them the nickname ‘whistling swans’ from Meriwether Lewis.