Guide to some birds of the Okhotsk region

EurasianJay StellarsSeeagle Redpoll BlakistonsFishowl LathamsSnipe JapaneseCrane Skylark LongtailedTit JuvenileSwan
Whooper Swan White-tailed Sea-Eagle Stellar's Sea-Eagle Hazel Grouse
Japanese Crane Far Eastern Curlew Latham's Snipe Ross's Gull
Blakiston's Fish-Owl Ural Owl Black Woodpecker Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Eurasian Skylark Long-tailed Tit Snow Bunting Common Redpoll
Tree Sparrow Eurasian Jay Northern Raven Buller's Shearwater*
Swan Goose* Ashy Minivet* To Checklist To Bird Guide Top

Whooper Swan     Cygnus cygnus     Oo-hakuchou

The Okhotsk region of Hokkaido is home to 3 species of swans, and the one with the highest numbers is the Whooper Swan. The first group arrives at Tofutsu Lake in early October and the numbers gradually increase to several hundred after that. Whooper Swans can be seen in this area until the end of April or early May.

The Tundra Swan (C. columbianus), which resembles the Whooper Swan, can be distinguished by the smaller shape of the yellow area at the base of its bill.

The pure white swans are adults, while the light gray ones are juveniles that were born at their breeding grounds in Siberia during the summer and accompanied their parents on their first migration to Hokkaido.

Tofutsu Lake, Abashiri; 18 February 2001



Juvenile. The plumage is gray overall and the bare portion of its bill is whitish which gradually turns yellow. By spring, many juveniles have turned almost completely white like the adults and their bills have turned yellow, making them harder to distinguish from adults. (Koshimizu, 19 March 2001)

Adult. The normally yellow portion of this individual's bill is more white than yellow. It is without doubt an adult, as other aspects are normal, and it is also not a hybrid. The color of the bill is thought to be due to an abnormality in the coloring pigment. (Koshimizu, 19 March 2003) Juvenile, earlier in the season and a relatively recent arrival. (Kussharo Lake, 21 November 2008)


A flock of 100+ Whooper Swans head northwest over the Notoro Peninsula toward Siberia.
(Futatsuiwa, Abashiri; 27 April 2010; photo: DB)