Birds – European Whistling Swan

In the northern parts of the Eastern Hemisphere the place is taken by two species belonging to the same group as the American Swans, but they are distinguished at once by having the basal portion of the bill and the lores yellow. The larger of these is the Whooper or Whistling Swan of Europe (C. Musicus), which has a total length of about five feet. It is ” essentially an Arctic species, breeding chiefly within the Arctic Circle either on the islands in the deltas of the great rivers or on the lakes of the Siberian tundras.” It also breeds in Iceland and the northern parts of Scandinavia, whence it retires in winter to central Asia, China, and Japan. A century ago it nested on the Orkneys, and even now is a not uncommon winter visitor to the British Islands. The nest is described as a bulky affair of sedge and coarse herbage, and the eggs, four or five in number, are pure white. Seebohm, who studied its habits in Siberia, says the notes cif the Whooper resemble those of a bass trombone.

Bewick’s Swan (C. Bewickii) is a third smaller than the Whooper, and may be distinguished further by the black apical portion of the bill extending much above the nostrils. Its distribution and habits, so far as known, are similar to the last, except it is not found in Iceland and only occasionally in Scandinavia.