Mute Swan

Some of my Mute Swan Photos – Cygnus olor

ORDER: ANSERIFORMES FAMILY: ANATIDAE

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There are three species of swans in Europe; the Mute Swan is the most numerous of these. Mute Swans might weigh 30 pounds and can stand up to 5 feet tall.

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Mute Swans have enormous appetites. They can eat up to 8 pounds a day of submerged aquatic vegetation, removing food and habitat for other species faster than the grasses can recover. Many ornithologists consider the Mute Swan to be semi domesticated – even tame in the UK. On the continent though some populations are migratory. The legend that they were introduced into England by Richard 1 on his return from the Crusades is not supported by the fossil evidence – the Mute Swan was an indigenous and wild species in Britain


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img_5720The juveniles remain dark from June to September and become whitish or brownish by November. Their bills are gray with a black base; they will develop the black knobs as they mature. They have gray feet and legs which will eventually turn black.


 

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The Mute Swan is reported to mate for life. However, changing of mates (divorce) does occur infrequently, and swans will remate if their partner dies. There are up to 6400 breeding pairs in the UK


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img_0295Swans are incredibly white – they are so big and powerful that they really have no need to conceal themselves and this also is a bonus for visibility during the breeding season


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SOURCES:

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

David Cabot “Wildfowl”

RSPB Handbook of British Birds 4th Edition