Trumpeter Swan
(Cygnus buccinator)


Picture of bird
© Jukka Jantunen (
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

There are three populations of Trumpeter Swans in North America: the Pacific Coast population, the Rocky Mountain population, and the Interior population. The Pacific Coast population breeds mainly in Alaska, but also in Yukon and northwestern British Columbia. The Rocky Mountain population breeds mainly in Alberta, northeastern British Columbia, western Saskatchewan, and southern Yukon and the Northwest Territories. The Interior population breeds primarily in Ontario, but small numbers have become established in eastern Saskatchewan and in Manitoba. The Trumpeter Swan was also confirmed as a breeder in Quebec for the first time during the second Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Quebec (2010-2014). The three populations have reached or exceeded their population objectives and are increasing. Hunting Trumpeter Swans is illegal in Canada in the United States. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
COSEWIC (Canada)Not at Risk1996 
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLarge IncreaseMediumNot Applicable
InteriorLarge IncreaseMediumAt an Acceptable Level
Pacific CoastLarge IncreaseMediumAt an Acceptable Level
Rocky MountainLarge IncreaseMediumAt an Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada10,000 - 25,000  birds

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between early April and mid-May and ends between early July and late July, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.

Conservation and management

In the early 1900s, the Trumpeter Swan population was drastically reduced to only a few individuals due to increased hunting pressure and habitat loss. However, through significant conservation efforts to protect nesting habitat and with reintroduction and translocation programs, populations accross North America have increased in size and continue to do so. In Ontario, a swan re-introduction program, initiated in 1982 and ended in 2006, had achieved its goal of at least 500 free-living swans by 2005. Surveys conducted in 2015 as part of the continental five-year survey showed a total minimum population of 2,000 swans in Ontario. The main management concerns for the Pacific Population of Trumpeter Swans are lead poisoning, habitat alteration and crop depredation (Pacific Flyway Council 2006).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Boreal Taiga PlainsBoreal Taiga Plains, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Conservation
Great BasinGreat Basin, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Other
Northern Pacific RainforestNorthern Pacific Rainforest, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Other
Northern RockiesNorthern Rockies, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Other
Northwestern Interior ForestNorthwestern Interior Forest, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Other
Prairie PotholesPrairie Potholes, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Other