Survey of wintering Whooper Swans Cygnus cygnus in Sweden in January 2015, and habitat shift in 1995–2015
Keywords:population studies, waterfowl, Anatidae, winter ecology, foraging ecology
As wintering Whooper Swans Cygnus cygnus have shifted their winter feeding habitats from water to terrestrial ones, the International Waterfowl Counts, covering only coastal and lake sites since its start in 1967, cannot monitor true population change. Therefore, special surveys covering also the terrestrial habitats have been organized in mainland NW Europe every five years since 1995. In January 2015, about 12,000 Whooper Swans were recorded in Sweden, an increase from 7,400 in 1995. On the national scale the use of terrestrial habitats shifted from about 30% in 1995 to about 80% in 2015. This shift came first in the southernmost province of Scania where 40% were feeding in terrestrial habitats already in 1995.
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