2245. Cygnus minor

(2245) Cygnus minor.

Alpheraky's swan.

Cygnus minor Keyserling & Blas., Werbelthiere, pp. lxxxii & 222 (1840) (Selenga River, Transbaikalia).

Vernacular names. None recorded.

Description. Buturlin* describes this Swan under the name of Jankowskii as "altogether larger than C. bewicki, while the yellow of the bill is somewhat more developed, but the best diagnostic character is its much broader bill. Fully adult examples of C. bewicki have the maximum breadth of the bill 28.0 to 30.5 mm.; exceptionally reaching to 31*0 mm., but then this specimen has the bill from the eye 122 mm. long."

This character generally holds good but two specimens of bewickii in the British Museum have the breadth of the bill 31.7 and 32.0 mm. respectively. In minor, however, the bill is always nearly straight at the base of the culmen, whilst in bewickii it is distinctly concave, the bill is longer in proportion to its depth and the yellow at the base is darker and tinged with orange.

Colours of soft parts as in Bewick's Swan but darker, more orange-yellow on the base of the bill. When viewed sideways three or four of the lamellae can be seen.

Measurements. Wing 490 to 550 mm.; culmen 94 to 99 mm. The bill of our only Indian-killed specimen measured well over the 100 mm.

Distribution. Siberia from the Lena delta to the extreme East. In Winter South to China and once India.

Nidification. This Swan was discovered breeding on the Lena delta in company with Bewick's Swan, though there was no evidence of their interbreeding. Nests and their sites were similar to those of that bird. The only two authentic eggs I have seen and four measured by Jourdain average 108.1 x 71.0 mm.: maxima 112.0 x 73.0 mm.; minima 104.1 x 71.5 and 111.2 x 69.0 mm.

Habits. Apparently similar to those of other Swans. The only certain record of the occurrence of this Swan in India is one shot by Mr. Hornsby on the 2nd of January, 1911, at Tubi, Campellpur. "When I saw this specimen in August of the same year the orange tint of the bill was still very noticeable. Harington saw what he believed to be a Bewick's Swan near Maymyo which may have been of this species, and probably most of the reported occurrences of Bewick's Swan in China really refer to this species. La Touche's specimen was undoubtedly minor and not bewickii.

The Fauna Of British India, Including Ceylon And Burma-birds(second Edition)
Baker, EC S (1922–1930) The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Second edition. vol.6 1929.
Title in Book: 
2245. Cygnus minor
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Alpherakys Swan
Tundra Swan
Cygnus columbianus
Vol. 6
Term name: 

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