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Conservation status: Amber

Adults are white all over and young birds greyish with a pinkish bill. Compared to the similar whooper swan, these swans have proportionally more black and less yellow on their bill. They're also smaller than both mute and whooper swans and have faster wingbeats.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Cygnus columbianus

Family

Swans, ducks and geese (Anatidae)

Where to see them

They're found mainly in eastern England, around the Severn estuary and in Lancashire. The Ouse and Nene Washes (Cambridgeshire), Martin Mere (Lancashire) and Slimbridge (Gloucestershire) are good places to see Bewick's swans.

When to see them

Bewick's swans arrive in the UK in mid-October after breeding in Siberia. They spend the winter here in our comparatively warm climate, before departing in March.

What they eat

In the UK, Bewick's swans feed in fields on leftover potatoes and grain. On their breeding grounds they eat aquatic plants and grass.

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
>23,000 birds (winter)-7,000 birds-

Distribution

Key

In the UK
England, Wales and N Ireland
In Europe
Western Siberia (breeding) and western Europe (winter)
Worldwide
Europe, Asia and North America

Audio

Richard Dunn, Xeno-canto