Trumpeter Swans have a distinctive bugle trumpet call

Photograph by Margaret Smith

Voice and call

Photograph by A. Frederickson

One of the very best ways to spot differences between swan species are calls: an absolute method of species identification.

If you are trying to identify if you are seeing a Trumpeter or a Tundra Swan, listen to the call. 

You can hear swan voices by clicking the links. Listen carefully, then compare the recording to the sound of the swan you are seeing in the wild. 

Trumpeter Swan calls are unmistakably trumpet bugle calls.  They have been known to be heard from 2 miles away in mountain regions.

Tundra Swan, sometimes known as Whistling Swan due to its call, has calls that are much higher pitched with a different cadence.  When there is a mixed group of swans, listen for their calls and you will be able to pinpoint each species.

  • Resonant, sonorous, loud, low-pitched, bugle like call.

  • High pitched often quavering oo-oo-oo, accentuated in the middle; or who, who-ho: woo-oo-woo; or who-who.

  • Generally silent but not "mute" hissing sounds are common and occasional snorting noises.

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