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Mute Swan

Overview

Mute swans (Cygnus olor) are a European introduction, brought over to beautify ornamental ponds. They have escaped to the wild, and feral populations are expanding, causing increasing problems as these swans are aggressive and can displace native waterfowl.

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Description

These swans are easily recognized by their white bodies and orange bill with a black knob at the base. Mute swans hold their necks in an S-curve.

Reproduction

Nests are large mounds of aquatic vegetation, lined with feathers and down, and placed in swampy areas above the water. Five to seven eggs are laid and then incubated for 36-38 days. The young are precocial and able to leave the nest one day after hatching. Both parents care for the young.

Habitat & Behavior

Mute swans can be found in and around ponds, lakes, and marshes, where they feed on aquatic vegetation, aquatic insects, fish, and frogs. These birds are not actually soundless as the name implies; they can deliver a variety of hisses, bugles, and other sounds. They also produce loud humming sounds from their primary flight feathers while on the wing, unlike our other swans.