Arizona Field Ornithologist
©2008
HOME | REPORT SIGHTINGS | PHOTOS | BIRDING | JOURNAL | ABOUT US | CHECKLISTS | MIGRATION COUNT | EVENTS | LINKS

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator), Tres Rios Flow Regulating Wetlands (restricted), Maricopa County

These Trumpeter Swans were found and photographed by Christina Kondrat-Smith on 19 December 2016

Though possibly increasing, Trumpeter Swan remains very rare in Arizona, with six accepted records and five pending review.

Immature swans represent one of the most challenging bird identification problems. The head is flat/angular shaped with the bill straight in a slope that resembles a Canvasback profile. Details of bill shape and pattern can be useful, but are much more variable and overlapping in young birds than in adults. Tundra swans tend to have shorter more concave bills and more rounded heads. Tundra Swans tend to have paler bills overall, with less black at the base; one of these birds is dark-billed while the other is within range for either species. Overall color is useful, as immature Tundra Swans are paler gray and molt earlier in the winter than Trumpeter, so already have a significant amount of white feathers by December. The overall color in the third photo is typical of Trumpeter Swan. Though not visible in photos, the observer noted yellowish legs in flight, which is indicative of Trumpeter Swan as Tundra Swans apparently always have black legs.


19 December 2016, photo by Christina Kondrat-Smith

All photos are copyrighted© by photographer

Submitted on 04 January 2017

©2005
HOME | REPORT SIGHTINGS | PHOTOS | BIRDING | JOURNAL | ABOUT US | CHECKLISTS | AZ BIRD COMMITTEE | EVENTS | LINKS