Kellogg Bird Sanctuary

How do you tell a Trumpeter Swan, a Mute Swan and a Tundra Swan apart?

You look at their bill and the way they hold their head, and listen to their voice.

Look

Mute Swans:

Mute SwanMute Swan are easy to spot just by looking. Just look at their bills! They have a bright orange bill with a black knob on top of it.

 

Tundra Swans:

Tundra SwanTundra Swans have rounder heads than Mute Swans. Their bills are all black, except for a little bit of yellow near the eyes.

 

Trumpeter Swans:

Trumpeter SwanTrumpeter Swans have an all-black bill. They are hard to tell apart from the Tundra Swan, so it's easier using other ways to tell them apart.

 

Posture

You've heard people tell you to watch your posture, right? They're telling you to sit up and stand straight. Sometimes, you can tell your friends apart by how they stand and walk. Well, you can tell swans apart by their posture too!

Mute Swans:

Mute Swan neckMute Swans generally hold their necks curved gracefully and bills pointed somewhat downward, kind of like a heart folded in half.

 

Tundra Swans:

Tundra Swan neckThe Tundra swan tends to hold its neck more vertically, or straight up and down. Tundra Swans will sometimes nod up and down, like they're saying "yes."

Trumpeter Swans:

Trumpeter Swan neckTrumpeters have their neck kinked back at the bottom in a hard C-shape. Also, Trumpeter Swans like to bob their heads up and down, a lot more than Tundra Swans will.

Listen

You can also tell swans apart just by listening to them!

Mute Swans:

Remember what you read about "mute" meaning not being able to talk? Well, Mute Swans are mostly quiet, but they're not really mute. They make lots of different grunts, snorts, and quiet whistles.

Tundra Swans:

Tundra Swans have a high-pitched, often quavering oo-OO-oo call.

Trumpeter Swans:

Trumpeter Swans have a very loud, trumpet-like call. It's why they're called Trumpeter Swans.

Can YOU tell the swans apart?

Let's see how well you can tell the three swans apart! There are seven pictures of swans here. See if you can guess what species of swan it is. Hover your mouse above the image to see if you got the answer right! Click on the image if you don't know why that answer is correct.

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How did you do?

If you're unsure on a few, scroll back up and read the differences between the swans again!

Waterfowl

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