Bewick’s swan is a rare winter visitor from Siberia, present in Ireland from November to March. Their breeding habitats are arctic and sub-arctic tundra where they inhabit shallow pools, lakes and rivers. The winter habitat is grassland and marshland, often near the coast. They will, for example, visit harvested fields and feed on discarded grain.
In summer they eat mostly aquatic vegetation that they acquire by sticking their head underwater and upending themselves while swimming. At other times they eat leftover grains and other crops. When breeding, they tend to be territorial and aggressive.
They are almost entirely white, with black feet and bill. The bill has a thin pink streak and yellow near the eyes.
Bewick’s swan is red-listed in Ireland due to severe decline in the number of swans wintering in Ireland.