Telling swans apart is tricky
QHow can you tell a Bewick’s Swan and a Whooper Swan apart? I have recently been to Slimbridge WWT and, looking out from one of the hides, I saw what I thought was a Whooper Swan but I was not able to be 100% sure as they both look very similar. Is there any easy way to distinguish a Whooper Swan from a Bewick’s Swan? Joseph Mcintyre
The easiest thing to look for is size; the Whooper Swan is a much larger bird than the Bewick’s, by as much as a foot in length in adult birds. The Whooper Swan also has a longer neck. The birds’ bills also hold a few clues to identity; the Bewick’s Swan has a concave profile to the top of the bill, and a yellow patch that ends bluntly above the bird’s nostrils. The Whooper Swan, on the other hand, has a longer yellow patch that comes to a point in front of the nostril, and a much straighter profile. The birds have different calls, too, the main pointer being that the Whooper repeats its call in groups of three or four, whereas the Bewick’s Swan’s slightly more goose-like call is usually only repeated twice. Hope that helps!