Tundra Swan

(Cygnus columbianus)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

Tundra Swan


N5B, N5N - Secure Breeding and Nonbreeding

SNRM - Unranked Migrant


not listed


Common migrant


Shallow areas of lakes and wetlands, agricultural fields


48 to 60in length

78 wingspan

Photo by Ed Oliveras

There is usually a small yellow patch (lore) on the bill below each eye. This may not be visible when view at a distance.




Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) is larger. The bill is orange with a black knob at the upper base. It is a rare vagrant in eastern Minnesota.

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) is larger. The bill is black and usually has yellow lores. It is much more common and widespread.






Late March to mid-May and November


Bewick's Swan (Cygnus columbianus bewickii) is sometimes treated as a separate species, Cygnus bewickii.



Anseriformes (ducks, geese, swans, and relatives)



Anatidae (ducks, geese, and swans)



Anserinae (geese, and swans)

Subordinate Taxa

Bewick's Swan (Cygnus columbianus bewickii)

Whistling Swan (Cygnus columbianus columbianus)


Olor columbianus









Small patches of skin between a bird’s eye and bill, one below each eye.




Visitor Photos
Share your photo of this bird.

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.

Wayne Rasmussen
  Tundra Swan    

Swan migration at Tamarac Nat'l Wildlife Refuge - 2009

  Tundra Swan    
Ed Oliveras
  Tundra Swan   Tundra Swan
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
  Tundra Swan    




  Tundra Swan
Allen Chartier
  Tundra Swan  
  Tundra Swan
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
  Tundra Swan  
  Tundra Swan
JMC Nature Photos
  Tundra Swan  
  Tundra Swans
Craig A. Mullenbach
  Tundra Swans  



Visitor Videos
Share your video of this bird.

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach one or more videos or YouTube links and, if you like, a caption.

Other Videos
  Tundra Swan Migration pt1

Uploaded on Jan 29, 2007

Migration of the Tundra Swan on the upper Mississippi river late Autumn of 2006.

  Tundra Swans (Anatidae: Cygnus columbianus) Flying
Carl Barrentine

Uploaded on Apr 16, 2010

Migrant Tundra Swans leave the Kellys Slough NWR, North Dakota en route to their Breeding grounds at high latitudes (16 April 2010).

  Tundra Swans at Pickering Creek Audubon Center
Kelsey Frey

Uploaded on Dec 7, 2009

In 2002 and 2005 Pickering Creek Audubon Center (Easton, MD) restored several acres of farmland into freshwater wetland and grassland habitats for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. Today the wetlands host black ducks, mallards, northern shovelers, green wing teals, pintails, wood ducks, american wigeons, ruddy ducks, canada geese, snow geese, tundra swans, killdeer, yellowlegs, great blue herons, many more birds, and a host of amphibians. The wetlands serve as vital wintering habitat and stopover habitat during migration. Shown are an adult and immature tundra swan preening their feathers visible from the overlook platform November 20, 2009. Canada geese are heard in the background.

  White Wing | The Tundra Swan Migration
John Davidson

Published on Apr 25, 2013

Each year, just at the first hint of spring thaw, massive waves of tundra swans begin a migratory trek from the Chesapeake Bay area, where they winter, to the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic, where they breed and nest. These magnificent birds aren't known to most North Americans, for their fly-past across the vast land is brief. A few days to rest and replenish at various locations in Southern Ontario and Manitoba, but no more. The imperative of an ancient biological clock calls them to keep moving north. For they have a precious few weeks to breed, nest and ready their fledglings for the 4200km return flight in the fall.

The video is part of a feild report on the tundra swan migration, posted at http://www.perfectdayfactory.com/tundra-swans/

  Tundra Swans, Mississauga; Mar 17, 2013 LFazio

Published on Mar 18, 2013

By the hundreds Tundra Swans, harbingers of spring, arrived in north Mississauga, Ontario by mid March, 2013. In a human made water collection culvert, beside the expressway, this primitive migration pattern continues against all human obstacles. Their eerie yodeling calls was a joy to hear; the Swans are on the way to the 'tundra' biome following the atlantic flyway that they have followed for millennia.




Visitor Sightings
Report a sighting of this bird.
This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.

Wayne Rasmussen

Location: Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge

Swan migration at Tamarac Nat'l Wildlife Refuge - 2009

Tundra Swan

Ed Oliveras

Location: Rieck’s Lake Park and Campground (Alma, Wisconsin), Alma, WI

Tundra Swan

MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings




Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © 2020 MinnesotaSeasons.com. All rights reserved.