Whooper Swan

Cygnus cygnus

  1. Wildlife
  2. Birds
  3. Waterfowl
  4. Whooper Swan


One of the two 'wild swans' that spend their winters in this country, Whooper Swans arrive from Iceland in late autumn returning north again in the spring. They will often feed on fields during the day, eating crops, before coming in to roost on open water.

How to identify

Larger than Bewick's Swan, Whooper Swans have more yellow and on their bills. They have white plumage.

Where to find it

A few pairs nest in Scotland, but most of our Whooper Swans nest in Iceland and winter in northern Britain and East Anglia.


When to find it

  • November
  • December
  • January
  • February
  • March

How can people help

The Whooper Swan is a rare breeding bird in Britain. The survival of our waterbirds is threatened by the loss and degradation of many of our wetland habitats. The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife happenings, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and be helping local wildlife along the way.

Species information

Common name
Whooper Swan
Latin name
Cygnus cygnus
Length: 1.5m Wingspan: 2.3m Weight: 9.3kg Average Lifespan: 9 years
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.