Bewick’s Swan – Accepted

1. 13–24 Jan 1975


Hog Lake TEH



2. 13 Dec 1975–04 Jan 1976


Victoria I. SJ



3. 21–30 Dec 1977


Victoria I. SJ




Bewick’s Swan – Not accepted, identification not established

04 Feb 1975


Oroville BUT





Bewick's Swan

BEWICK’S SWAN Cygnus columbianus bewickii Yarrell, 1830

Accepted: 3 (75%)

Treated in Appendix H: no

Not accepted: 1

CBRC review: all records through 19801

Not submitted/reviewed: NA

Color image: none

Bewick’s Swan was removed from the CBRC’s review list in 1980, not because of its occurrence patterns in California, but because it was lumped with the Whistling Swan (C. c. columbianus) under the name of Tundra Swan (AOU 1982). The Committee does not review records of identifiable subspecies. Bewick’s Swan nests along Russia’s arctic coast and offshore islands, being replaced by the Whistling Swan in arctic North America and extreme northeastern Russia. Bewick’s Swans occur casually or accidentally from the Aleutian Islands south along the Pacific coast to central California, with scattered records from other parts of Canada and the United States. Some records probably involve escapees, although birds banded in Siberia have been recovered in Alaska and California (Evans and Sladen 1980).

California’s first Bewick’s Swan—an adult observed 13–24 January 1975 at Hog Lake in Tehama County—was accompanied by three first-winter birds thought to be Bewick’s or Bewick’s × Whistling Swans (Luther et al. 1979). Bewick’s Swans may winter annually among large flocks of Whistling Swans in the Central Valley, but field identification can be difficult, and most records probably lack adequate documentation. Bewick’s typically has a generous daub of yellow at the base of the bill, but its extent is highly variable (Scott 1981, Knapton 2000). Moreover, evaluating this mark with confidence can be challenging or impossible, depending on viewing conditions. The shape of the yellow area and its relation to the nostril help to distinguish Bewick’s Swan from the larger Whooper Swan and potential hybrids.

1On the review list 1975–1980