Adults are white all over and young birds greyish with a pinkish bill. Compared to the similar whooper swan, these swans have proportionally more black and less yellow on their bill. They're also smaller than both mute and whooper swans and have faster wingbeats.
Key ID Features:
Smaller than Mute and Whooper Swan.
Rounded yellow patch (pinkish in juvenile) on black bill angles back before nostrils.
Very vocal with bugling calls.
Scientific name: Cygnus columbianus
Family: Swans, ducks and geese (Anatidae)
Where to see them:
They're found mainly in eastern England, around the Severn estuary and in Lancashire. The Ouse and Nene Washes (Cambridgeshire), Martin Mere (Lancashire) and Slimbridge (Gloucestershire) are good places to see Bewick's swans.
Seen in UK:
Bewick's swans arrive in the UK in mid-October after breeding in Siberia. They spend the winter here in our comparatively warm climate, before departing in March.
What they eat
In the UK, Bewick's swans feed in fields on leftover potatoes and grain. On their breeding grounds they eat aquatic plants and grass.
Text (c) RSPB, used with permission
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Photographer: Tim Tapley