Mute Swan

Cygnus olor

Order

ANSERIFORMES

Family

Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4

MUSW

Code 6

CYGOLO

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Mute Swan has a large range, estimated globally at 100,000 to 1,000,000 square kilometers. Native to Europe and Asia but also present in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, this bird prefers wetland or coastal marine ecosystems. The global population of this bird is estimated at 600,000 to 620,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Mute Swan is Least Concern.

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BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Mute Swan: Aggressive bird, entirely white, orange bill with large black basal knob and naked black lores. Curved neck is often stained with pigments from iron or algae. Legs and feet are black. Feeds on aquatic plants collected from bottom. Direct flight with strong steady wing beats.


Range and Habitat

Mute Swan: This swan is native to Europe and Asia. It is an established species in the Midwest, especially in coastal areas of the Great Lakes where measures are being taken to remove them, and also along the East Coast, where they are increasing in number. Prefers freshwater, salt marshes, and protected bays.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"ssssssssssss; "kloorrr"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Mute Swan is less vocal than the noisy Whooper and Bewick's Swans; the most familiar sound associated with them is the whooshing of their wings in flight. The phrase ‘swan song’ refers to this swan and to the legend that it is utterly silent until the last moment of its life, and then sings one achingly beautiful song just before dying; in reality, the Mute Swan is not completely silent.
  • The Mute Swan is the national bird of the Kingdom of Denmark.
  • They are very territorial. The familiar pose with neck curved back and wings half raised, known as busking, is a threat display. There have been many reports of Mute Swans attacking people who enter their territory. Their wings are believed to be so strong that they can break a person's arm with one hit.
  • A group of swans has many collective nouns, including a "ballet", "bevy", "drift", "regatta", and "school" of swans.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Mute Swan

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Jane Wright

Artist

Yury Lisyak

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