Whooper Swan – Bird of the Month

The whooper swan is mainly a winter visitor to the UK from Iceland. This is a lone individual I saw at Attenborough Nature Reserve in January last year.

Only once before have I seen whooper swans at ANR and that was this distant view of a small flock of six in March 2018. In the UK they are mainly confined to the Severn Estuary and East Anglia. The name arises from its noisy, whooping call.

This is an example of the similar Bewick’s swan. It was named in 1830 by naturalist & author William Yarrell after the engraver Thomas Bewick, who specialised in birds and animal illustrations. They are also winter visitors to the UK, migrating from eastern Russia. The Bewick’s swan is smaller than the whooper swan and has more black colouring on the bill. Image and information from Wikipedia.


The differences between the three species is most marked in the head shape and bill markings.

One comment

  1. Hilary Griffiths · October 1, 2021

    Hi Raymond,

    Wow…… didn’t know there was such a difference in the features of a swan! You ARE observant! You measure up well to being an expert! 😎😋 The weather hasn’t been too wonderful has it ? Must be a bit miserable for your bird spotting!

    Have they started ‘Heading up and moving out out’ yet…… as we’re apparently due for some extra cold and maybe snowy weather in the near future? ( Didn’t they sell bras a while ago with the same caption? – ‘Head em up and….etc?) Maybe my memories are corrupted? 🤪 Have a lovely day. Thought it was supposed to be sunny from 10.00? Hmmm they’ve got it wrong again! It is nice and bright in my kitchen though…… I’ve got the light on!

    Time to accept my invite to my old college’s 100 yr celebration. It was last year but cancelled….. and amalgamated in 1972 with the Royal Manchester. Have a nice day! Love Hils xxxxx

    Sent from my iPhone



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