Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)
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The Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus) is a large Northern Hemisphere swan. It is the Eurasian counterpart of the North American Trumpeter Swan.
The Whooper Swan is similar in appearance to the Bewick's Swan. However, it is larger, at a length of 140-160 cm (55-63 in), a wingspan of 205-275 cm (81-110 in) and a weight range of 8–20 kg (17.6-44 lbs). It has a more angular head shape and a more variable bill pattern that always shows more yellow than black (Bewick's Swans have more black than yellow). Three Whooper Swans and one Mute Swan
Distribution and behaviour
Whooper swans require large areas of water to live in, especially when they are still growing, because their body weight cannot be supported by their legs for extended periods of time. The whooper swan spends much of its time swimming, straining the water for food, or eating plants that grow on the bottom.
Whooper swans have a deep honking call and, despite their size, are powerful fliers. Whooper swans can migrate many hundreds of miles to their wintering sites in northern Europe and eastern Asia. They breed in subarctic Eurasia, further south than Bewicks in the taiga zone. They are rare breeders in northern Scotland, particularly in Orkney, and no more than five pairs have bred there in recent years. This bird is an occasional vagrant to western North America. Icelandic breeders overwinter in England and Ireland, especially in the wildfowl nature reserves of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.
Whooper swans pair for life, and their cygnets stay with them all winter; they are sometimes joined by offspring from previous years. Their preferred breeding habitat is wetland, but semi-domesticated birds will build a nest anywhere close to water. Both the male and female help build the nest, and the male will stand guard over the nest while the female incubates. The female will usually lay 4-7 eggs (exceptionally 12). The cygnets hatch after about 36 days and have a grey or brown plumage. The cygnets can fly at an age of 120 to 150 days.
Whooper Swans are much admired in European culture and they are the National bird of Finland. They are displayed on the Finnish Euro coin.
These are beautiful, I rarely see these in the UK
Best wishes, Fai
It is the same over here this was only the fifth time I encountered them . They rest in places far from people so you won't find them in cities or channels.
Best regards, Erik
I can imagine how pleased you were to photograph these wonderful birds. Congratulations. But I also must say, how much I love the image.
It gives special emphasis to the birds, expresses beautifully the seclusion of the place, and adds a wonderful intrigue through the framing of the dark background by an attractive tree.
Hello Ian the birds where the ones that caught my attention. But as I came close the whole scene was so much bigger than a portrait of the birds.
The early morning light that brightens the reed, the thin layer of ice reflecting the blue sky, the oak in the foreground unfolding like an umbrella and the contrast of all that to the dark background. So glad you noticed! The birds here are just a surplus. Or perhaps I should say, a gift from above.
Thank you so much for your wonderful praise!
Lovely back ground with the white swans Erik.
Mooi zoals je ze in hun natuurlijke omgeving hebt vastgelegd Erik.
Ze staan toch heel duidelijk in beeld en in een mooie compostie nog wel Erik. BO.
Geweldig mooie foto Erik! Die kleuren zijn onwerkelijk mooi! Het heeft meer weg van een oud schilderij dan een 'moderne' foto.
Best of voor dit juweeltje!
Groeten van Ria
Hello Anna and Milotaurus the morning light did what it does best perfectly light this scene. Thank you both for your kind comment.
Hallo Nico, Dani, Tonia en Ria erg leuk dat jullie allen hier een berichtje achter lieten. Erg leuk om te horen dat jullie dit waarderen. Met die BO Dani en Ria ben ik natuurlijk weer erg blij.
Dat je het met een schilderij vergelijkt Ria vind ik een GROTE eer, bedankt!
Greetings, Groeten, Erik
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Photo taken in 8421 Oldeberkoop, Netherlands
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