There are two populations of Whooper Swans, one breeding in Iceland, which migrates to the UK in winter, and another breeding in Scandinavia and Siberia and over-wintering in Western Europe. Also frequently found in Turkey.  Typical male weight is around11kg and the female 8kg. They have a yellow and black bill pattern, like Bewick’s Swans, but are distinguishable because the wedge of yellow on the Whooper Swan always extends below the nostril. In addition, the bill is longer than the Bewick’s. Whooper Swans are the most aggressive of the Eurasian swans. Migration flights can last 14-15 hours and they reach speeds of around 50mph (80 km/ph). They have been recorded at flying at heights up to 9000 metres.

Whopper Swans are large swans that average 4.6 – 5.6 feet (1.4 – 1.65 meters) in length. The male tends to be larger than the female, averaging 5.6 feet (1.65 meters) and weighing about 24 lbs (10.8 kg); while the female typically weighs 17.9 lbs (8.1 kg).

Their wingspan is ~ 6.75 – 9.2 feet (2.1 – 2.8 meters).  The Whooper Swan has a pure white plumage. The webbed feet and legs are black. Half of the beak is orangey-yellow (at the base), while the tip is black. These markings on the bill differ and individuals can be recognized by their bill pattern.

The Whooper Swan can easily be identified from other white swans by the color of the beak.

The Whooper Swan resembles the Bewick’s Swan. but the orangey-yellow markings on the bill is more extensive on the Whooper Swan. The Bewick’s bill has more extensive black markings on the bill. The Whooper Swan is larger and longer-necked than the Bewick’s and has a more angular head shape.

The Whooper’s Swans breed in freshwater marshes, ponds, lakes and along slow-flowing rivers.

Most Swans find their mates before the age of 2 years – usually during the winter season. Even though some may nest for the first time when they are two years old, most won’t start until they are 3 to 7 years old.

Upon arrival in the breeding territory, the pair will engage in courtship behavior, which includes bobbing their heads and facing each other with quivering wings.

Swan pairs typically bond for life and pairs stay together throughout the year, including moving together in migratory populations. However, it has been observed that some of them switch mates over their lifetimes, particularly after nesting failures, and some that lost their mate did not mate again.

If a male pairs up with another younger female, she will typically join him on his territory. If he pairs up with an older female, he will go to hers. If a female loses her mate, she will usually pair up quickly – usually choosing a younger male.

Bonded pairs tend to remain together year-round; however, outside the breeding season, they are highly social and often congregate with large numbers of other swans. During the breeding season, pairs will, however, aggressively defend their territories.

The Swan’s nesting season is timed to take advantage of readily available food supplies. Nesting mostly usually occurs from April through July.

They will nest in areas with ample food supply, shallow and uncontaminated water, and few disturbances. Usually, only one pair nests on a single body of water. These nesting territories range from 6 to 150 acres in size and are often located near where the female was hatched. The female chooses the nesting area, while the male defends it. Swan pairs are most likely to return to the same nesting site if they were able to raise young successfully there in the past.

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