The Three Species Of British Swans

There are three species of Swan in Britain.  The Mute swan is the common one which is found across Britain all year round and is easily recognisable from the other two by its orange bill.  The world population is thought to be around 500, 000 birds the vast majority of these (over 300, 000) are in Russia and surrounding countries.  The largest single group is thought to be 11, 000 birds in the Volga delta.  Britain has a population of 22, 000 birds.  They are also found in many other continents where they have been introduced.

The Other two species migrate into Britain for the winter months and include Whooper and Bewick Swans.  both are easily distinguished from Whopper Swans by their yellow bill, but can be confused with each other.  The Whooper is about the same size as the Mute, whilst the Berwick is a much smaller swan. 

The Whooper swan is found across a large range of Europe and Asia with a summer range across the northern part of this area and on the tundra.  In winter it moves south in search of food and has a large winter range including Britain and as far south as Japan.  It is thought to be one of the heaviest flying birds in the world, they weigh up to 14 kg.  (Mute Swans weigh between 11 and 12kg.)

Bewick Swans are a sub species of the Tundra Swan, and as their name suggests they are found in the Arctic and sub Arctic Tundra area.  During the winter months they head south and one of the best places to see them in Britain is at Slimbridge at the WWT reserve where they congregate during the winter months especially during periods of cold weather where they are fed regularly. 

above Bewick Swans
below Whopper Swan
The images below are all of Whopper Swans, and were taken at a variety of placations.