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Do Swans Honk? The Sounds They Make

Do Swans Honk? The Sounds They Make

Swans make whistles, snorts, and hissing sounds. They produce sounds to communicate with each other. The trumpeter and Tundra swans were named for producing low pitched sounds but both of them sound quite different. The noticeable thing about them is their vocalizations and difference in pitch and tone quality.

Sometimes, the sound is produced by the beating of the wings. The wing beat of Whooper Swans makes a hissing sound whereas, the mute swans beat their fluffy wings it makes a loud throbbing sound. Male and female swans give the deep, trumpeting “oh-oh” calls to each other. The baby swans (cygnets) have quite high pitched peeping noises.

Do Swans Honk?

Swans produce loud snorts but do not honk at all during the breeding season. The apparent loud or throbbing sound is made by the beating wings of swans. They produce slight grunts and hisses while they beat their wings. When swans are in a group they snort, whistle, and growl at each other.

Trumpeter Swan Sound

Both tundra and the trumpeter are natives of North America. The two species sound quite distinct. Simultaneously, swans are vocally variable, especially tundra. Trumpeter swans make the typical “Oh-Oh”, deep and trumpeting call, with the second syllable. They sound extremely low pitched and nasal as compared to Tundras. The trumpeter’s call is quite soothing and nasal sounding when made with the mouth closed. People usually compare the vocalization of trumpeters to tin trumpets and taxi horns. Periodically, they sound rowdy and erratic.

do swans honk?

Trumpeter swans call to keep their groups and pair together, to defend habitats, or to sound a warning. Male and female trumpeter swans use a single syllable “hoo”, a low pitch to find each other. They slap the water aggressively with their large webbed feet when approaching an intruder. During their takeoff, their feet and wings also slap the surface of the water. Baby swans namely cygnets make a high pitch and evolve tone by the time they are 6-8 months old. 

Mute Swan Sound

Most people get confused by the name of mute swans, they consider them as silent birds but they are not mute. When mute swans are disturbed or harmed they make loud snorting and hissing sounds. They give the muffled trumpet or bugle call to the other swan species during the territorial defense. When mute swans are in groups they whistle and growl at each other.

do swans honk?

Sometimes in flights, the swan’s wings make a loud humming or whistling sound that may help the birds to communicate with each other. These strong downbeat sounds occur at a rate of 4 beats per second and a very far-carrying. As they land mute swans slap the water with their feet striking at the same time to alert the intruders. Cygnets (baby swans) whistle a soft and slow pitched volume call when feeding or preening with adults and when they are distressed or lost they peep at a high pitch. Mute swans produce low pitched, snoring sounds and females make the Glock, Glock sound to greet their mate. The pens (female swans) call their families with a sound like a yapping puppy.

Swans Communication Through Sounds

Swans fluff their wings in a definite way to alert intruders to stay away. They want to look as threatening as possible like other animals and birds. They fluff their wings to experience the wind for a more uncomplicated and speedier swim. Although, they are native to Europe are named “mute swans” but they are very vocal and contextual. The elegant and loving head dipping used in courtship is usually silent. The head dip is more vibrant when used to greet someone brandishing a bag of swan pellets. It is often accompanied by a loud snorting and a long rattling in the back of the throat and some fully dramatic wing flapping.

do swans honk?

Swans use a selection of grunts and snorts while communicating with each other, during feeding they may also content grunting. They snort to attract the attention of a feeder who is spotted from the water. They do not recognize people but they recognize their voices for sure. When they are sad their call is heart heartbreaking. It’s melancholy, high pitched and a prolonged kinda cry. Usually, the major causes of a swan’s sad call are losing of a cygnet either they are under attack from another swan or they can’t find the mate.

Baby swans (cygnets) are quite vocal when the food is offered, they make a sort of high pitched cheeping sounds. Swan parents are protective about their young baby swans (cygnets), if somebody tries to harm them their parents make sharp, high pitched sounds and they can also harm you. It is amazing to see them growing from quite small fluffy things in such a large and strong bird. They still talk their “baby talk” even if they are old enough to leave their parent’s habitat. 


Many people think of swans as silent but they are not silent. The swans use a variety of snorts and grunts during the courtship and use hisses for aggressive encounters, threat displays. Mute swans make muffled trumpet and bugle calls during territorial protection. Mute swans also make hissing and snort when they are disturbed. They have very unique noise produced by their wings in flight and these downbeat occur at a rate of 4 beats per second. Female swans call to their broods with a yapping puppy sound. Cygnets have high pitched noises until they are fully flagged. 

Whereas the whooper swans produce a hissing sound when their wings beat, and the wingbeats of mute swans only make a loud bugle sound. Mates welcome each other with a short and snoring sound. The pens (female swans) solicit their mates with a slow glock,glock sound. When in a group swans growl, whistle, and snort each other. When Cygnets (baby swans) feed or preen with adult swans, whistle a soft, low volume call and peep at a high pitch when lost or distressed.

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