Wildlife - Species

Tundra Swan
Photograph by Kevin Smith

Species Specific Regulations

Tundra Swans

Licenses: Hunting License required. Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Federal Duck Stamp) that is validated by the hunter signing the stamp in ink across the face of the stamp

Limits: Please see Migratory Bird Regulations for any game zones restrictions or Limitations.

Complete hunting regulations.

Tundra Swans (Cygnus columbianus)

Trumpeter Swan

Tundra swan are large white waterfowl with a long neck and black bill.

Average Size
Tundra swans have an average length of 52 inches and an average weight of 16 pounds.

Tundra swans are found in all 4 flyways. In South Carolina they are found along the coast during the winter months.

Preferred Habitat
During the summer months the appropriately named tundra swan is found on the lakes, ponds, and pools of the arctic tundra. During the winter months they are found in shallow estuarine tidal areas, freshwater lakes, ponds, and rivers. They are also commonly found feeding in agricultural fields at this time.


Food Habits

Tundra swans are primarily herbivorous, consuming seeds, stems, roots, and tubers of submerged and emergent aquatic vegetation. They will also eat a very small amounts of animal meat, mainly mollusks. During migration and winter months they also consume agricultural grains.


Swans arrive on breeding grounds already in breeding pairs. They search for nest sites and build near large water bodies in upland and wet meadow tundra. Both the male and female construct the nest, although the female spends more time on the nest. They add nest material from near the nest consisting of grasses, sedges, lichens, mosses, and forbs. The female then lays 3-5 creamy white eggs.


Call is goose like honking. Similar between sexes.


  • Swans are territorial during nesting and brood-rearing.
  • Very social during nonbreeding season.

Citations, Publications and Literature

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Federal Duck Stamp Office Presents: North American Waterfowl (PDF)

Limpert, R.J. and S.L. Earnst. 1994. Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online.

Hunting Information

For more information, please see:

Dean Harrigal - Waterfowl Biologist

585 Donnelley Drive
Green Pond, SC 29446
Phone: 843-844-8957
Fax: 843-844-2525

E-mail: harrigald@dnr.sc.gov