Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)
Whooper Swan, Caerlaverock, Scotland, February 2001 - click for larger image

Whooper Swans breed in Iceland and the north of Europe and Asia. They migrate south in the winter to west and central Europe, to around the Black, Aral and Caspian Seas and to China and Japan.

The birds that winter in Scotland come from Iceland arriving around October and returning to Iceland during April.

Whooper Swan, Caerlaverock, Scotland, February 2001 - click for larger image They form a superspecies with the Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) of North America which has an all black bill. The yellow markings on the bill of the Whooper Swan are like a human fingerprint; they are all different and individual birds can be recognised by their bill pattern.
Whooper Swan, Caerlaverock, Scotland, February 2001 - click for larger image From a distance they can be separated from Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) by the straighter neck and the flatter profile of the body as can be seen in the 4th photo. This photo was taken on Mainland Shetland in early June and may represent one of the rare breeding attempts in Shetland or it may be one of the few non-breeding birds that spends the summer on Shetland possibly due to ill-health.

There is an illustration in HBW, Volume 1, Page 574.

Whooper Swan, Mainland, Shetland, Scotland, June 2004 - click for larger image
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