Bewick’s Swans with yellow neckcollar



In 1985/1986 this project was started to know more about various aspects of the behaviour of the Bewick’s Swan, especially during the winter season.


Total number of marked individuals

From the 1985/1986 season onwards a total of 502 swans were caught in The Netherlands and Germany, mostly with canonnets (for a demonstration of a canonnet click here). The first 5 seasons the birds were marked with legrings. To increase the number of reports all birds caught since 1990/1991 were marked with a YELLOW neckcollar (375 different individuals so far). During 1998/1999 18 birds were caught, all of them in Germany in March 1999. During the 1999/2000 season 11 individuals have been marked, also in Germany.


Number of reports

In the 1999/2000 season 3200 reports of 120 different swans were received from about 200 observers. The mean number of reports per bird during that season was 27 (new-ringed swans excluded from calculation). This was a little higher than in the previous season. Seasonal reports of the 1999/2000 season will be sent to the observers on 21st  February 2001.


Distribution of reports

Of all different birds reported during 1999/2000 80% were seen in Germany, 78% in The Netherlands, 20% in the United Kingdom, 11% in Estonia, 3% in Denmark, 3% in France, 2% in Poland, 2% in Switzerland, 1% in Sweden, 1% in Belgium and 1% in Latvia. For the first time more different birds were seen in Germany than in The Netherlands. A pair of swans which were marked in eastern Germany in early November 1999 wintered in Switzerland, a country where the Bewick’s Swan is a rarity. On their return journey they were found near Strasbourg in NE France on 26 February. Two 2 days later they were seen near the site of ringing. Another bird was seen in NE France in early December 1999 and was seen 3 weeks later in the Camargue at the Mediterranean coast near Marseille where about 75 birds are present during winter. Furthermore one bird was seen in SE Poland near the border of the Ukraine. 


Birds not seen in 1998/1999 but returning in 1999/2000

In 1999/2000 no Bewick’s Swans which were not observed during 1998/1999 were reported. So far only 7 cases of birds missing one winter are known. It has not yet occured that birds returned after missing more than one winter.


Birds recovered dead

Since the last report no birds were reported dead. We have not received a recovery for more than 2 years.


Reports to the observers

Everybody who does report observations of Bewick’s Swans with a yellow neckcollar to us will once a year receive a report with all observations from the same winter he or she reported, together with the ringing details. These season-reports are scheduled for October/November of each year.


Request for help

Observers are asked to look for marked Bewick’s Swans. Please sent your reports of Bewick’s Swans with a yellow neck-collar directly to us. Please report, beside the ringcode, the date of observation and the exact locality, also details about social status, number of juveniles with the marked individual, food/habitat, flocksize etc. All these details are very important to us. To produce reliable season-reports it is extremely important to be 100% certain about the code on the neckcollar! Please you’re your observations to us before 1st July so we can distribute our reports as soon as possible to the observers. If you are not able to sent reports to us before 1st July or if you have reports from previous seasons we are still interested in these reports. You will always receive a season-report of the birds you saw!


Sent your reports to the projectcoordinator:

Trinus Haitjema

It Heechhout 7

8723 ES  Koudum

The Netherlands




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