Whooper Swan - Cygnus cygnus


The Whooper Swan is a large white swan, similar in size to the Mute Swan. Typically its neck is usually held erect, and it has black legs. Its black bill has a large triangular patch of yellow on it that extends past the nostril towards the tip.

Similar Species

The Bewick's Swan has a similar yellow patch on its bill but this doesn't extend past the nostril. It is also significantly smaller and doesn't hold its neck as straight.

Identification difficulty

Usually seen in Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern England and parts of East Anglia.

When to see it

October to March.

Life History

Feeds on aquatic plants, grass, grain, potatoes.

UK Status

It is mainly a winter visitor to the UK from Iceland, although a couple of pairs nest in the north. The estuaries and wetlands it visits on migration and for winter roosts need protection. Its winter population and small breeding numbers make it an Amber List species.

VC55 Status

Infrequent 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