Male Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Scientific name: Cygnus olor

Did you know: Mute Swans are among the heaviest flying birds. The males, known as cobs, can weigh up to 14.3 kg (32 lb), while females, known as pens, weigh around 10.6 kg (23 lb).

What Do Mute Swans Look Like? (how to identify them)

The Mute Swan, a magnificent waterfowl, is wholly white in plumage with an orange beak bordered with black. Notable for its size, ranging from 125 to 160 cm in length, it’s recognized by its pronounced knob atop the beak, larger in males. These swans are characterised by their majestic S-shaped necks and powerful, slow wingbeats in flight.

Differences Between Male And Female Mute Swans

Males are generally larger with a more prominent knob on their bill. They also tend to be heavier than females. However, apart from these subtle differences, both genders share the same elegant white plumage and distinctive orange beak.

What Do Mute Swans Eat?

Mute Swans are primarily herbivores, feeding on water plants, insects, and snails. They are known to consume a wide range of vegetation, both submerged aquatic plants and agricultural crops such as oilseed rape and wheat.

Where Do Mute Swans Live? (inc. migration info)

Native to Euro Siberia, Mute Swans are found across various habitats including urban and suburban areas, marine and intertidal zones, farmlands, wetlands, and grasslands. In the UK, they are a common sight, with approximately 6,500 breeding pairs and 50,500 wintering birds. Mute Swans are migratory in the northern parts of their range but are resident in milder climates.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Mute Swans)

Despite their name, Mute Swans are not entirely silent. They produce a range of sounds, including grunting, hoarse whistling, and snorting noises. During courtship displays, they issue a rhythmic song synchronising with their head and neck movements.

Fun Mute Swan Facts (kid friendly)

  • Mute Swans mate for life, symbolising love and loyalty.
  • Cygnets, or young swans, come in two colour morphs: grey or white.
  • They can fly long distances, up to 2,000 km from their breeding areas.
  • Mute Swans are known to defend their nests fiercely, even against humans.
  • The cob (male) often guards the cygnets while the pen (female) takes care of nesting.
  • These swans are capable of mourning their lost or dead mates.
  • The wings of a Mute Swan are powerful but cannot break a human’s leg, contrary to popular myth.
  • Mute Swans are one of the few birds that can eat up to 8 pounds of vegetation a day.
  • They are recognised for their “busking” pose, with neck curved back and wings half raised.
  • The oldest known Mute Swan in North America lived to be at least 26 years old.

Mute Swan Images

Male Mute Swan Male
Female Mute Swan Female
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Mute Swan Fledgling Fledgling
Mute Swan Juvenile Juvenile

Facts About The Mute Swan

Diet: Water plants, insects and snails.
Bird Family: Ducks, geese and swans
Length: 140-160cm
Wingspan: 208-238 cm
Weight: 10-12 kg
Scientific Name: Cygnus olor

The Mute Swan Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December