Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Day 108 - Whonderful Whooper Swans

Hi all, today's Day 108, and I have recently been at some wetland nature reserves near York and I saw these lovely swans. They weren't Mute Swans they were Whooper Swans. You can tell from the pictures how a Whooper Swan looks different to a Mute Swan or any other swans.

Anyway, here are the facts:

Group of Whooper Swans (Cygnus cygnus)
  • As I said above, it is hard to differentiate Whooper Swans from other types of swan. I have created one way of differentiating them from knowing that Whooper Swans travel in groups. A group o' Whoopers. :-)
  • You can distinguish Whoopers by their yellow beaks from mute swans which have orange beaks. Whoopers are larger and have more yellow on their beaks than Bewicks Swans.
  • The Whooper Swan's Latin name, Cygnus cygnus, means something quite obvious. Cygnus means The Swan so literally translated their Latin name means, The Swan The Swan.
  • As I mentioned in my Mute Swan post, they are royal birds and are protected legally by the monarch whether it be a king or queen. It is actually illegal to kill a swan on the Thames.
  • They are very large and heavy birds being 152cm long and having a 230cm wingspan. Both male and female birds weigh 9.3kg! That's a heavy swan.
  • They are one of the few large birds that are not commonly eaten. I read this is as they are hard to domesticate. I think it helps that your not allowed to kill them, though. 
  • The UK only has 9-14 WILD breeding pairs in the UK. Although they do have an Amber Status which is probably because they are joined by another 15,000 birds in the Winter...
  • ...There is, however, a reason for this. They are only found in parts of the UK. Also they only live here in the Winter.
  • Whooper Swans are very hardy as they have been recorded to fly at heights of 8,200 metres! The temperatures up there are around -40*C!
  • While we're on the subject of flying, they fly in groups just like a flock of Geese, in a V formation. Every-so-often they will change the leader so he-she can have a rest at the back of the flock.
  • They are a visitor from Iceland where they come down for Winter. I don't know why they would come down if they can survive temperatures of up to -40*C but it's still nice to see them anyway.
Here are some links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,


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