Whooper swan Laululuik Cygnus cygnus
Bewick's swan Väikeluik Cygnus columbianus
We met the first Bewick’s swans stopping for a migration pause in mid-October. The most important stopping places on the coast and in West Estonia are: the Matsalu bay,
The Bewick’s swans leave
From the upper photo of Arne we can see that telling Berwick’s swans and whooper swans apart may be quite difficult for an inexperienced birdwatcher. On the autumn migration they can be encountered in mixed flocks.
Let us have a look at the similarities and differences between the adults of these white-plumaged birds.
The weight and the neck length of Bewick’s swans is smaller than that of whooper swans. About the difference in weight: Bewick’s swans 5 to 10 kilos and whooper swans 7 to 12 kilos; from afar and with a bare eye difficult to distinguish. With binoculars the beak of the bird should be looked for: while the yellow on the beak base of Bewick’s swan covers about 1/3 of the beak (the patch seems more angular) then that of whooper swans covers 2/3 (reaching the beak too) and the neck of the somewhat sturdier birds seems longer as already said. The juveniles of this summer still wear a grey plumage.
Whooper swans in a stubble field
The Finnish national birds have estsblshed themselves in
The migration of whooper swans occurs a couple of weeks later compared to Bewick’s swans. But migrants flying past from the North can still be seen in December. The wintering areas of whooper swans and Bewick’s swans are similar.
Whooper swans wintering in the North Estonia or western