|Irish Name:||Eala Ghlórach|
|Scientific name:||Cygnus cygnus|
Winter visitor to wetlands throughout Ireland from October to April.
Similar to Bewick's Swan, but larger, with longer neck. Yellow and black bill, with the yellow projecting below the nostril.
Vocal bugling or honking.
Aquatic vegetation, but they are commonly found grazing on agricultural grasslands and fields where there is spilled grain, as well as potatoes from cultivated land.
The Whooper Swans that are present in Ireland each winter nest in Iceland during the summer. Each year a small number of Whoopers stay in Ireland for the summer and there have been occasional breeding records on lakes in the midlands and north-west.
Most on lowland open farmland around inland wetlands, regularly seen while feeding on grasslands and stubble.
Irish Wetland Bird Survey (I-WeBS), and a special swan census is carried out every five years, most recently in 2015. The next census takes place in January 2020, aiming to count and gather data on every Whooper Swan in Ireland over the weekend of the 11th and 12th of January. The census is coordinated in the Republic of Ireland by our I-WeBS team.
Breeding grounds in Iceland and Northern Europe.
Relatively widespread winter migrant, especially north and west of a line between Limerick and Dublin. Lough Swilly (Donegal), Lough Foyle (Donegal/Derry), Wexford Harbour & Slobs, Lough Gara (Sligo) and Donegal Bay all support greatest numbers (350- >2,000 birds).
Blog posts about this bird
BirdWatch Ireland urge people to report any signs of bird flu in their area
Report any dead or sick waterbirds or birds of prey here.There are numerous strains and subtypes of the avian influenza virus that each vary in severity. The strain that has recently been detected in some wild birds in Ireland is Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1, which spreads easily between birds and causes illness, with a high death rate. This strain had been detected in a number of European countries before arriving into Ireland this month as wild birds migrate southwards and westwards for the winter. BirdWatch Ireland are part of an early warning system with regard to surveillance for signs of disease in wild birds, together with colleagues in the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NAGC). What is the current situation with regards Avian Influenza in the Republic of Ireland? To date there have been confirmed mortalities from the H5N1 strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza in counties Galway, Roscommon, Offaly, Donegal and Kerry, with further cases under investigation in other counties. The birds known to have been infected so far are Whooper Swans, Greylag Geese, Peregrine Falcons and a White-tailed Eagle. In winter, waterbirds of a range of different species congregate together at wetlands across the country, which allows the virus to spread easily amongst waterbird flocks and between species. When these birds become sick, they are easy prey for raptors such as Peregrines and Eagles, hence these species are often infected also. What are the signs to watch out for? Firstly, it’s important to be aware that the only wild birds expected to become infected at present are waterbird species (wildfowl, waders, gulls) and birds of prey. If you own chickens or other poultry then please consult the Department of Agriculture website for further advice. If you find a dead waterbird of bird of prey, where the cause of death isn’t obvious (e.g. car collision) then it’s best to report it to the Department of Agriculture, so it can be collected and tested. If you find a bird of these species that’s acting unwell or otherwise behaving strangely, then this too should be reported. It’s important to note that potentially sick birds should not be brought to a wildlife rehabilitator or the National Wildlife Hospital in Meath, as this could risk infecting the birds already in their care. If you find a sick bird, report it via this link first, and secondly you may want to call the Avian Influenza Hotline (01 6072512 during office hours or 01 4928026 outside office hours). Should I stop feeding my garden birds? Although it is possible for garden bird species to get bird flu, they are at very low risk at present, for the simple reason that they don’t interact with the species currently infected (i.e. waterbirds). As such, there is no reason to stop feeding your garden birds. If the situation deteriorates and this advice changes, we will spread the word and ensure everyone knows. What should I do if I own poultry? To date there have been no cases in poultry flocks in Ireland, but poultry owners should familiarise themselves with Department of Agriculture guidance on biosecurity and the new regulations introduced as a precautionary measure. It should be stressed that there is no food safety risk for consumers and that properly cooked poultry and poultry products are safe to eat. What is the situation in Northern Ireland? Full details on restrictions for poultry flock owners, and where to report possible cases in wild birds in Northern Ireland, can be found on the DAERA website here. Further information and updates are regularly made available on the Department of Agriculture website: