The Tundra Swan winters by lakes, marshes, or large rivers in Japan’s main island of Honshu. In Honshu it is a winter bird; however, few of them winter in Hokkaido, they are passage migrants seen mostly during the migration periods of spring and fall when they are moving south or north. The Whooper Swan looks much like the Tundra Swan, but there are some differences in the shape of their necks, the color pattern of their bills, and their habitats. The Tundra Swan’s voice is lower than that of the Whooper Swan.
BIRDS VOICE (Tundra Swan)
BIRDS VOICE (Whopper Swan)
The Mute Swan often kept in castle moats is easily recognizable by the pronounced knob atop its bill; however, the Tundra Swan and the Whooper Swan, which migrate from Russia, look alike. At 140 cm in length, the Whooper Swan is noticeably larger if the two species are compared side by side but you will not see that often. So then, let’s look at the differences of their habitats.
While the Tundra Swan breeds in the Arctic, the Whooper Swan breeds in areas further south, even on the Kamchatka Peninsula or the Russian island of Sakhalin. However, their pattern for wintering is the opposite; the Tundra Swan migrates to the western part of Japan and the Whooper Swan migrates a shorter distance to winter in the northern part of Japan. This tendency is also found in gull species. Many Herring Gulls, which breed in Russia, spend the winter farther south in Japan than the Slaty-Backed Gull that breeds in the northern part of Japan.
For many bird species, the bond between male and female or parent and child exists only during breeding season. Some birds born in spring become independent by summer, and if they can survive their first winter, they will breed the next spring. However, for swans, geese, and cranes, the relationship between parent and child continues until winter and couples mate for life. The survival rate of these species is thought to be relatively high, and they also share the same rate of maturation, taking more than two years for a fledgling to reach breeding maturity.
Incidentally, the first test subject of the study of bird migration via satellite transmitter introduced in the profile of the Latham’s Snipe was actually a Tundra Swan.
On April 10, 1990, a transmitter was attached to a Tundra Swan named Noriko by the staff of Wild Bird Society of Japan Study Center in Hokkaido, and according to the satellite-tracking record passed over the Russian island of Sakhalin on April 26, and reached the northern latitude of 161 degrees in the Arctic Circle on May 17.
Juvenile Tundra Swans that migrate to Japan in fall are not really white. They will turn white by spring when they return to the north and by the time they separate from their parents.
The yellow part of its beak is broad and meets the black part of the bill at a sharp angle.