hide You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of University of Alberta using Archive-It. This page was captured on 16:40:34 Dec 08, 2010, and is part of the HCF Alberta Online Encyclopedia collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page.
 
   
 
 
 

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
 
 

Trumpeter Swan

The Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) was once common throughout North America. By the 1900s, however, a combination of habitat destruction and hunting led the species to near extinction. In 1978, Trumpeter Swans were listed as a vulnerable species in Canada by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Fortunately, efforts to recover Trumpeter Swans have been undertaken throughout many parts of its former range and almost all swan populations have increased in the latter half of this century. Trumpeter Swans are no longer listed as a species at risk by COSEWIC (1999) but are still considered a 'threatened animal' under the Alberta Wildlife Act.

Summer habitat for the Trumpeter Swan varies widely throughout its range. In Alberta, trumpeters live in scattered flocks on lakes and marshes in the Aspen Parkland and Boreal Ecoregions. The basic breeding habitat requirements for the Trumpeter Swan being adequate room to take off (approximately 100 m), accessible forage, shallow, stable levels of unpolluted fresh water, emergent vegetation, a muskrat house, island or other structure for the nest site, and low human disturbance. Similarly, Trumpeter Swan nesting lakes in Alberta generally have at least five common characteristics: lake water levels do not have marked seasonal fluctuations-, the waters are quiet, without strong wave action or currents; shallow water so the swans can dig for tubers and roots of aquatic plants; isolation and security from human disturbance; and areas of emergent vegetation. Nests are rarely located in upland areas but are usually located near shore, on small islands, or on muskrat and beaver lodges. Habitats supplying high abundance of aquatic invertebrates and/or aquatic plants have the greatest swan production.

The Trumpeter Swan is North America's largest native waterfowl, with females weighing an average of 9.9 kg and males weighing an average of 10.3 kg. These swans are completely white except for their black bills and legs, and are easily mistaken for the slightly smaller Tundra Swan. Some subtle morphological differences exist between the species (for example, most Tundra Swans possess a yellow spot in front of the eye), but the only consistent difference between Trumpeter and Tundra Swans is their voice; Trumpeter Swans have a deep trumpet-like call, whereas Tundra Swans have a high-pitched "bark".

Once the cygnets hatch, the adults will rarely venture more than 20 metres away. Cygnets feed almost exclusively on aquatic invertebrates and crustaceans for the first 2-5 weeks after hatching. By the age of 2-3 months, however, a cygnet's diet is the same as an adult's, and consists of stems, roots and shoots of horsetail, pondweed, sedges, and other plant material. Both adults and cygnets spend most of their time feeding in emergent vegetation, and adults may eat up to 9 kg of food per day. This massive food requirement is one reason the density of swans is limited to one swan family per lake.

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan

Download Player


Trumpeter Swan