USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Trumpeter Swan -- Cygnus buccinator

RANGE: Breeds locally throughout Alaska and from southern British Columbia and southwestern Saskatchewan south to southeastern Oregon, eastern Idaho and northwestern Wyoming. Was introduced and is now established at Ruby Lake in Nevada and in southwestern South Dakota. Winters from southern Alaska, western British Columbia, southern Alberta (rarely) and Montana south to northern (casually southern) California, occasionally to Utah, New Mexico, and eastern Colorado.

STATUS: Once near extinction, the population has increased to more than 4,000 birds.

HABITAT: Typically found in open boreal forest; prefers large shallow, fertile marshes or lakes (up to 4 feet deep) with a profusion of submerged and emergent aquatic plants, and generally untimbered but well-vegetated shorelines. During winter, prefers shallow lakes, streams, and ponds with open water that are bordered by some level and open terrain.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Shallow, sheltered waters that do not have a fluctuating water level, and some margins of emergent vegetation.

NEST: Nests on the ground on any site above the general level of the marsh terrain, preferably on muskrat houses surrounded by water 1 to 3 feet deep. Also nests on shore in sedges, bulrushes, cattails, rushes, or in horsetail. Has a nesting territory that ranges from 70 acres along irregular shorelines to 150 acres along straight shorelines.

FOOD: Feeds primarily in shallow waters of lakes or open marsh, digging up roots and tubers of aquatic plants, or snapping off plant parts with bill; rarely feeds on land. Eats a variety of marsh and aquatic plants.

REFERENCES: Banko 1960, Bellrose 1976, Johnsgard 1975b, Terres 1980, Van Wormer 1972.

Previous Section -- Family Anatidae
Return to Family List
Return to Contents

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Friday, 01-Feb-2013 19:23:52 EST
Sioux Falls, SD [sdww55]