Bewick's Swan - Cygnus columbianus

Alternative names
Tundra Swan and also as Whistling Swan.

The smallest swan in the UK. It has more black on its bill than Mute and Whooper Swans and is considerably smaller and more like a goose in shape.

Similar Species

Similar to Whooper Swan which is larger and has more yellow on the bill

Identification difficulty

Found mainly in eastern England, around the Severn estuary and in Lancashire with concentrations at the Ouse and Nene Washes (Cambridgeshire), Martin Mere (Lancashire) and Slimbridge (Gloucestershire).

When to see it

The Bewick's Swan arrives in Britain in mid-October after spending the breeding season in Siberia and leaves around March.

Life History

Feeds on leaves, shoots and roots.

UK Status

Although increasingly threatened by loss of habitat and man's activities, there are significant numbers in the UK. It is on the Amber List.

VC55 Status

Occasional winter visitor to Leicestershire and Rutland.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map