Trumpeter swans are the largest birds native to North America. Trumpeter swans have a large, stout, black bill and males can have a wingspan of nearly 10 feet. Trumpeters feed mostly on aquatic plants, although in winter they may forage on waste grain and grasses in farm fields.
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The trumpeter swan is a majestic bird, with snowy white feathers, jet-black bill, feet and legs. They have an average 8-foot wingspan, but larger males can reach a wing span of up to 10 feet. At close range, a thin orange-red line can be seen on the lower part of the bill.
MeasurementsLength: 54.3 to 62.2 in (138 to 158 cm)Wingspan: 80 in (203 cm)
Both males and females make a deep oh-OH call. The second syllable is emphasized.
Trumpeter swan habitat includes a lot of variety: riverine wetlands, lakes, ponds, marshes, open wooded regions and prairies. In winter, they can be found on tidal estuaries.
Trumpeter swans are mainly vegetarians, often feeding on a broad range of aquatic plants, including pondweeds, sedges, rushes, duckweed, wild rice and algae. However, they occasionally eat small fish and fish eggs. In the winter months their diet includes crops such as corn and barley.
Trumpeter swans establish life-long mates at approximately three years of age and nest the following year. Sometime between late March and early May, they build their nests close to the water. The male will gather nest material, uprooting marsh plants such as cattails and sedges. He will present them to the female for placement. The nest reaches a diameter of six to 12 feet (1.8 to 3.7 m), with an average height of 18 inches. The same nest site may be used for several years.
Once the nest is complete, the hen lays one egg every other day until she has a full clutch, usually from three to nine eggs.
The historic breeding range extended in a wide band from the Bering Sea, east through almost all of Canada and as far south as Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. Today, birds breeding along the coast of Alaska and Canada migrate to the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. Breeding pairs from the Alaskan and Canadian interior winter in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Most southern populations are non-migratory.
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