The Bewick’s Tundra Swan (Cygnus bewickii) is a smaller Eurasian waterfowl than the Mute Swan. It lives across Europe into southern Russia and China.
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 is a migratory bird, flying to warmer climates in winer 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.
Bewick’s Tundra Swans lay 4-10 eggs, and the female 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.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
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