Whooper swan

(Cygnus cygnus)




Facts about this animal

A large swan, but somewhat smaller than the mute and the trumpeter swan. It has a total length of 140-160 cm and a wingspan of 205-235cm. The average weight of males of the nominate subspecies is 10.8 kg, of females 8.1 kg. Whistling (C. c. columbianus), Bewick’s (C. c. bewickii), and Jankowski’s (C. c. jankowskii) swans are clearly smaller.

The female lays 3 to 6 white eggs, in a very large nest near water. The eggs are incubated typically for 31-32 days, in the smaller subspecies 29-32 days, exclusively by the female.

Did you know?
that whooper swans form pair bonds when they are three or four years old? The pair stays together throughout the year, moving together in migratory populations. Whoopers are assumed to mate for life, but some individuals do switch mates over their lifetimes.


Class AVES
Suborder ANSERES
Name (Scientific) Cygnus cygnus
Name (English) Whooper swan
Name (French) Cygne chanteur
Name (German) Singschwan
Name (Spanish) Cisne cantor
Local names Czech: Labut zpevná
Dutch: Wilde zwan
Estonian: Laululuik
Finnish: Laulujoutsen
Greek: Agriókyknos
Hungarian: Énekes hattyú
Italian: Gigno selvatico
Polish: labedz-ktzykliwy
Portugiese: Cisne-bravo
Romansh: Cign selvadi
Swedish: Sångsvan
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Appendix II (as Anatidae spp.). Included in AEWA



Photo Copyright by
Vladimír Motyčka



Range Breeds throughout Eurasia and Iceland. In the western Palearctioc, there are four distinctz breeding populations: a) Iceland, United Kingdom and Ireland b) NW mainland Europe c) N Europe, W Siberia, Black Sea and est Mediterranean c) W and C Siberia and Caspian area Winters in the United Kingdom NW Europe, C Europe, Asia Minor, N India, China, Japan and the Koreas.
Habitat A variety of freshwater habitats, including riverine wetlands, lakes, ponds, and marshes.
Wild population The global population is estimated to be 180,000 individuals by Wetlands International (2002).
Zoo population 82 speciemens reported to ISIS (2006).

In the Zoo

Whooper swan


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 17 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Andreas Trepte

Why do zoos keep this animal

The whooper swan is not a threatened species. Zoos keep them for educational purposes e.g. in themed Eurasian wetland exhibits, and as an ambassador species for wetland conservation.