A displaying Bewick's swan

Bewick's swan

It takes a good eye to tell the difference between Bewick's swans and whooper swans. Bewick's are smaller and their black beaks sport a small yellow blob, rather than the whooper's extended yellow wedge. In fact these yellow and black beak patterns have been extensively studied and illustrated over the years and are unique to each swan, identifying individual birds.

They breed in the cold Arctic tundra of northern Russia. The western population winters in northern Europe, with the British Isles boasting some sizeable and surprisingly musical flocks. The eastern population heads towards China and Japan for the winter season. Bewick's are actually a subspecies of the tundra swan and the smallest swan in Europe.

Scientific name: Cygnus columbianus

Rank: Species

Common names:

Tundra swan

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The Bewick's swan can be found in a number of locations including: Arctic, Asia, China, Europe, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Bewick's swan distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Birds
  5. Anseriformes
  6. Ducks, geese and swans
  7. Swans
  8. Bewick's swan

BBC News about Bewick's swan

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