Plants and Animals
Cygnus buccinator Trumpeter swan
Trumpeter swans are the largest swan in North America. They are best distinguished from Tundra swans by their lower pitched nasal honking and their bill, defined by a straight edge at the gape and pointed border between the eyes. They have been reintroduced at a number of places throughout the state.
Status and Rank
State Status: T - Threatened (legally protected)
Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure
State Rank: S3 - Vulnerable
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Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.
Trumpeter swans use a variety of wetland types such as marshes, ponds, and lakes with nests frequently placed on muskrat houses.
For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.
Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.
Nesting areas should be buffered by a no-activity zone to eliminate human disturbance by boats, personal watercraft, and birdwatchers. Wetland management that maintains large open water areas required for takeoff and landing as well as the lush emergent and submergent vegetation for cover and food should benefit Trumpeter swans. Competition from the Mute swan, a non-native aggressive species, may need to be reduced, eliminated, or controlled. Migratory stopover and wintering areas should be protected once identified.
Migration from fourth week of March to third week of April
Nesting from fourth week of April to fourth week of July
Migration from third week of October to first week of December
Scan suitable habitat for this bird from foot or boat but be sure to verify the identity. Surveys may also be conducted from aircraft to allow a better view of areas where the incubating adult may be concealed in the vegetation but care should be taken to avoid causing abandonment while allowing close enough inspection to verify that the bird is a Trumpeter and not a Mute swan.
Survey Period: From first week of May to fourth week of June
Time of Day: Daytime
- Bibby, C.J., N.D. Burgess, and D.A. Hill. 1992. Bird Census Techniques. Academic Press, New York.
- Evers, D.C. 1994. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife of Michigan. The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor. 412pp.
- Sibley, D.A. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. Knopf, Toronto. 544pp.