MUTE SWAN

Scientific Name: Cygnus olor
Order
Anseriformes (waterfowl)

Family
Anatidae (ducks, geese, swans)

Habitat & Range
The mute swan is a native to much of Europe and Asia. They were brought to North America in the late 1800’s by wealthy landowners hoping to add the bird’s beauty to their estates. Some birds escaped and established breeding populations in several areas. They prefer to live in shallow coastal ponds, estuaries, bogs, and streams that flow into lakes.

Identification
Mute swans are large, measuring between 50 and 67 inches long and weighing as much as 33 pounds. The all-white bird has a long, curved neck with an orange bill and a black face. Males are larger than females and have a larger black knob on their bill.

Diet
Mute swans enjoy eating aquatic plants as well as some aquatic animals. They consume about 4 to 8 pounds of vegetation daily. They will ‘tip-up’ to reach submerged food by dipping their head and upper body below the water, leaving their tail pointing straight up in the air.

Reproduction & Lifespan
Mute swans mate for life. They build large nests made from waterside vegetation that they’ll return to year after year. Males and females work together to care for the young swans, called “cygnets.” Most swans live up to 7 years in the wild.

Fantastic Fact
Intimidation Game
The mute swan is mostly tame, but can become very aggressive, especially in the defense of its nest. The large size of the bird (larger when the wings are extended) make it a formidable adversary to most potential predators.
 
 
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