Cygnus Buccinator – Trumpeter Swan

Cygnus Buccinator - Trumpeter Swan found in the US

The trumpeter swan (Cygnus buccinator) is a North American swan species. With a wingspan of 183 to 259 cm, it is the biggest extant species of duck in North America. It is the American counterpart and a close relative of Eurasia’s whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus), and some authorities have even regarded them to be the same species.

Quick Overview: Cygnus Buccinator – Trumpeter Swan
Body size: Around 58-72 in (147-183 cm) and weight of 11381 g (401.6 oz)
Main colors: White, Black, Gray-Brown
Range: Northern United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: January, February, December
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Trumpeter Swan Description

Trumpeter Swans in adulthood are totally white with a black bill and legs. Immatures are grayish-brown in color. Trumpeter Swans forage in relatively shallow water, penetrating the surface to consume aquatic vegetation and occasionally tipping up like a dabbling duck.

Cygnus Buccinator - Trumpeter Swan found in the US
Cygnus Buccinator – Trumpeter Swan. Photo by: Laura Wolf


These birds have a length of 58-72 in (147-183 cm) and weight of 11381 g (401.6 oz). Their wings could range from 72-102 in (183-259 cm).


The trumpeter, like all swans, feeds mostly on submerged and emergent vegetation, supplemented by various invertebrates, small fish and fish eggs, and, during the winter, grasses, grains, and tuberous crops. The list of plants eaten is extensive; leaves, stems, roots, and tubers are all devoured.


Their breeding habitat consists of vast shallow ponds, undisturbed lakes, pristine wetlands, wide slow rivers, and marshes throughout western and central North America, with the highest concentrations of breeding pairs in Alaska.


Trumpeters are well-known for their aggressive behavior during the breeding season. They can become quite hostile toward competitors, other swans, or any other animal that intrudes on their territory.

Cygnus Buccinator Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Anseriformes
  • Family: Anatidae
  • Genus: Cygnus
  • Species: Cygnus buccinator

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the winter season (December to February).

Distribution of the Trumpeter Swan in the USA

Trumpeter swans are widespread across the Nearctic Region, with the highest concentrations in Alaska, Canada, and the northern United States. A significant proportion is found in Alaska, more precisely in Prince William Sound and the Copper River Delta. Some trumpeter swans have even made Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, their home.

The Trumpeter Swan can be found in the following states in the United States – Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Cygnus Buccinator – Trumpeter Swan

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