4 Species Of Swans in Idaho (All You Need To Know)

Idaho has been home to all four swan species found in North America. Trumpeter Swans, Tundra Swans, Mutes Swans, and Whoopers Swan are some of the birds.

Swans are big birds that are often represented as being elegant and lovely in children’s tales. White swans are the most common, but black swans do exist.

Cobs and pens are the names for male and female swans, respectively.

Since the beginning of time, swans have been revered. Only kings and queens could preserve or hunt them, and they were formerly reserved for the aristocracy. They are, however, a protected endangered species that can only be hunted with special authorization.

The Mute Swan, on the other hand, is an invasive species that is aggressive and causing the destruction of habitats and forcing the native Trumpeter Swan to the brink of extinction. Swans can be a nuisance, so they are prohibited in many areas.

You should learn more about Ducks in Idaho if you like seeing waterbirds in the state.

According to avibase, this guide will aid you determine the kinds of swans seen in Idaho, as well as providing genuine information on when they may be seen through ebird data gathered by birdwatchers.

4 Species Of Swans In Idaho

1. Trumpeter Swan

All year in Idaho, trumpeter swans may be seen. Birdwatchers in the state have reported them in up to 2% of their summer and winter checklists.

The longest and heaviest extant wild bird native to North America is the Trumpeter Swan. It is also known as the world’s heaviest flying bird.

  • Cygnus buccinator
  • Length: 58 – 72 in (147 – 183 cm)
  • Weight: 401.6 oz (11381 g)
  • Wingspan: 72 – 102 in (183 – 259 cm)

Except for their black beaks, legs, and feet, trumpeter swans are completely white. Their eyes seem to be connected to their bills by a black patch on their face. Because of their interaction with iron components in wetland soils, their heads and necks may occasionally exhibit some rust-brown coloration.

The black bills of juvenile Trumpeter Swans are pink in the center, and they are mostly dusky-gray.

Swans breed in northern Canada and Alaska, and migrate to the Pacific Northwest for winter. Those that breed in the Great Lakes go to central US states for winter.

Swans can be found in thick vegetation-covered marshes, lakes, and rivers. In open areas beside shallow waters, they breed. In addition to agricultural fields, they may be seen.

Trumpeter Swans often feed on underwater plants and vegetation, which they may harvest with their bills. Since they have such lengthy necks, they may get at vegetation in deeper water by tilting like a dabbling duck.

They can uproot aquatic plants and feed on them thanks to their huge and powerful bills. They also consume spilled or leftover grains and crops while touring agricultural fields.

Trumpeter Swan nests are almost always surrounded by water, or at least a little. By tossing grasses, grass-like plants, and other submerged vegetation over his shoulder, the male gradually constructs mounds of this material until he reaches the nesting spot.

Beaver or muskrat lodges are also used to breed them. After that, the female will lay four to six eggs and keep them warm for four weeks until they hatch.

Fun Fact: Swans, trumpet players, usually mate for life. One adult stays with the nest while nesting. When it comes to defending their nesting spot, they are both territorial and aggressive.

2. Tundra Swan

During the winter months of November through mid-May, Tundra Swans are frequently seen in Idaho, although they may be seen at any time of year.

The Whistling Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus) of North America and the Bewick’s Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus bewickii) of Eurasia are two subspecies of swans.

  • Cygnus columbianus
  • Length: 487 – 58 in (119 – 147 cm)
  • Weight: 370.37 oz (10496 g)
  • Wingspan: 72 – 84 in (183 – 213 cm)

The yellow patches at the base of Tundra Swans’ bills distinguish them from other species. In comparison to the Whistling Tundra Swan, Bewick’s Tundra Swans have a more prominent yellow patch. On the Whistling Tundra Swan, there is occasionally no yellow patch. They both have black legs and feet, as well as white bodies with long necks.

The bill of a juvenile Whistling Tundra Swan is pink with a black tip and base, and the birds are pale brown with white highlights.

The bill of juvenile Whistling Tundra Swans is mostly pink with a black tip and base. It is pale brown with white highlights.

In Canada’s Arctic and coastal Alaska, Tundra Swans breed. They go inland to the Pacific Northwest and establish colonies. During the winter, they head to the Great Lakes and the Atlantic coast.

Tundra Swans may be found on Arctic tundra, as the name suggests. Wetlands, marshy lakes, ponds, estuaries, and bays are where they prefer to congregate. In agricultural fields, they also flock together.

The majority of Tundra Swans eat aquatic plants, which they find by diving their head below the water’s surface. They dig around the bottom with their large webbed feet. When on land, they will also eat grass and grass-like vegetation. While they’re on agricultural fields, crops such as potatoes and corn serve as their primary food source.

Tundra Swan nests are often situated near open water, and they’re mound-shaped. Plant materials found in the region are used to construct them. The female incubates four to five eggs for up to 40 days before they hatch.

Fun Fact: Because of the sound their wings make in flight, the Tundra Swan was once known as “Whistling Swan.”

3. Mute Swan

In Idaho, mute swans are labeled as a uncommon or accidental species, although they have been sighted south of the border.

One of the biggest and heaviest flying birds is the Mute Swan. They were imported to beautify lakes and ponds, but have since escaped into the wild and reproduce. They are non-native. They may be aggressive and create issues for native wildlife.

  • Cygnus olor
  • Length: 56 – 62 in (142 – 157 cm)
  • Weight: 416 oz (11789 g)
  • Wingspan: 84 – 96 in (213 – 244 cm)

They have long, elegant necks, orange bills with a massive, black basal knob, and black feet. They are totally white and have black around the base of their beaks. Although males are larger than females, adults look similar.

The orange-colored bills of juveniles aren’t seen. Instead, their bills are dusky-pinkish. Their body might have dark-brownish tones on occasion.

In their juvenile (cygnets), mute swans exhibit two color morphs. Gray down covers the feathers of the royal chicks from birth, and they become gray-brown and white as they grow up. When the chicks hatch, they are all white and stay that way throughout their lives. Their cheeks are a light pink color. In addition, their legs are pale pinkish-gray, not black.

Europe is the home of mute swans. However, the majority of the breeding population presently lives in northeastern America and southeastern Canada. They have spread to other areas and are non-native and do not migrate.

In city parks, protected bays, and lakes, you may see a variety of Mute Swans. Shallow wetlands, rivers, and estuaries are also good places to look for them.

The majority of Mute Swans’ lives are spent in water. When on water, they forage for underwater plants and eat them as their primary food. They can also feed on grass and agricultural crops on land, foraging for food.

Both male and female swans construct nests for Mute Swans. Swans reuse their nests every year because they are monogamous and need to repair and restore them. On islands in the midst or along the banks of a lake, nests are common.

The female lays four to eight eggs in a mound they create using plants and vegetation. For approximately thirty-five to thirty-eight days, both parents incubate the eggs.

Fun Fact: When adult swans perceive danger or threats, they are fiercely protective of their young and will aggressively attack anyone who gets in their way. If the warning is ignored, they will hiss as a warning, and they will pursue and ambuse the predator.

4. Whooper Swan

In Idaho, where they are considered an unintentional species, Whooper Swans are extremely uncommon. In 2018, they were last observed in Cloverdale.

The Common Swan (pronounced hooper swan) is also called the Whooper Swan. Their corpses are totally white and devoid of hair. The bill is bright yellow with a black tip, and it covers almost half of the bill.

  • Cygnus cygnus
  • Length: 60 in ( 152 cm)
  • Weight: 329.6 oz (9341 g)
  • Wingspan: 84 – 96 in (213 – 244 cm)

Swans breed in cold northern climates and spend the winter in wetlands farther south, They are native to Eurasia. In the United States and Canada, however, vagrants can be found.

Whooper Swans may be found in flocks near marshes, on flooded fields, lakes, and tiny ponds. They’ll be grazing on farms along the coast when they’re eating on land.

Swans feed underwater in the majority of cases. In order to find underwater plants, they dive their heads and long necks under water. They eat all of the plants, including the stems, with their big bills, which they use to snag them by their roots.

Islands and lakeshores are common nesting spots for Whooper Swans. Plants, moss, reeds, grass, and lichens are used to construct them like enormous mounds. For thirty-five days, the female incubates four to six eggs. At this point, the male is protecting the nest.

When they are four or five months old, cygnets, or juvenile swans, can fly.

Fun Fact: Because their legs and feet are unable to support their massive bodies for long periods of time, Whooper Swans must be in close proximity to huge bodies of water when they’re growing up.

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