The Biggest Waterfowl

John Turner / The Trumpeter Swan Society

The Biggest Waterfowl: Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)

The Trumpeter swan -- the world's biggest waterfowl, or aquatic bird -- is easily identified by its white feathers and unique trumpet-like sound. They live in freshwater marshes, ponds, and lakes, during the summer and streams, lakes, and reservoirs during the winter in North America. The Trumpeter swan feeds on aquatic plants found underwater, as well as grasses and grains. The oldest Trumpeter swan lived to be 32 years old, although they typically live up until their 20's. Originally thought to be monogamous (meaning only having one mate in its lifetime), the Trumpeter swan actually has multiple mates during its life for three to five year periods. These magnificent birds were hunted in the 1600-1800's for their feathers, which made the best quality quills and their skins for clothing and decoration. Now the Trumpeter swan is ranked as Least Concern thanks to programs to breed and reintroduce the swans to their former habitats.

Bird / Waterfowl


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