The Bewick’s Tundra Swan (Cygnus bewickii) is a bird in the Anatidae family of swans. It is a smaller Eurasian waterfowl than the Mute Swan.
It is white with a yellow and black beak, a yellow eye-ring, and a rounded head. It has dark-grey legs.
The Bewick’s Tundra Swan can grow to 115-140 centimetres (45-55 inches) tall.
It lives in Europe and into southern Russia and China. It is a migratory bird, flying to warmer climates in winter in a V-formation flock.
Birds do not have teeth, but the swan has serrated edges that look like teeth. They are plates called lamellae. The lamellae are useful for sifting water for plants and algae, and also frogs, worms, snails and small fish.
A male swan is called a cob. Male and female Bewick’s Tundra Swans mate for life. They build their nest near water. They aggressively defend their nest from intruders. They have bony spurs (outgrowths) in their wings to hit predators with, or they will bite an intruder, or chase them away. Their most common predators are coyotes and bears.
The female Bewick’s Tundra Swan lays 4-10 eggs, and she broods for around 36 days. Young swans, called cygnets, are not white; they are grey or buff-coloured with grey-black beaks for the first year of their life.
Bewick’s Tundra Swan
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM