Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Larry Dalton and Laura Romin
Photo Copyright Larry Dalton and Laura Romin

The trumpeter swan, Cygnus buccinator, once bred in much of North America, including Alaska, Canada, and a great deal of the United States. Its current breeding range is much reduced, including only Alaska, parts of Canada, and localized areas of the northwestern and north-central United States. It is possible that the trumpeter swan formerly bred in northern Utah, but it is now only an occasional migrant to Utah during the winter. The trumpeter swan prefers wetland habitats, such as marshes, ponds, and lakes.

The nest, which is built of plant matter, is constructed in emergent vegetation at water's edge. A clutch of about five eggs is laid in April or May, and is then incubated by the female for a little more than a month. The young fledge at about four months of age, but stay with their parents until the next breeding season. The trumpeter swan mates for life.

The trumpeter swan eats primarily aquatic vegetation, but young will also eat insects and other aquatic invertebrates. Individuals are sometimes mistaken for tundra swans by hunters, but the species cannot be legally hunted in Utah.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Peterson, R. T., and V. M. Peterson. 1990. A field guide to western birds, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 432 pp.