However, changing of mates does occur infrequently, and swans will remate if their partner dies. A Maryland study found they ate up to 8 pounds a day of submerged aquatic vegetation, removing food and habitat for other species faster than the grasses could recover. These swans either build a new nest or use a previously constructed mound, such as a muskrat house. It weigh from 8.5 to 12 kg (19 to 26 lbs). So it must have got the name ‘mute swan’. Where available, mute swans may also reuse other mounds, such as muskrat houses, for nesting. Swans begin breeding between the ages of 3-4. The State of the Birds 2014 Report. This fact sheet can introduce birders and non-birders alike to many things they never knew about the mute swan. Genders are identical with all white plumage, though the long neck, which is often held in an S-curve, may show a buff, tan, or brown wash from dirt or plant debris. Young swans are not bright white—these young are called. In the Maryland region of Chesapeake Bay, Mute Swans drove the last colony of Black Skimmers off their breeding grounds and trampled Least Tern nests and nestlings on the bay’s sandbars. Blue-green when laid, changing to white and chalky. ➺ The mute swan is Britain’s largest bird. ➺ This non-native species has established and spread rapidly in North America. Non-breeding birds molt around July. (2019). The pen can be seen carrying the young ones on her back. Incubation lasts 36 to 38 days. The scientific name of the species is Cygnus olor. Farther inland, they breed on slow-moving rivers, bogs, embayments, and creeks and streams that empty into large lakes and other bodies of water. Volga Delta hosts the maximum number of single breeding pairs around 11,000 in total. Mute Swans have enormous appetites. ➺ According to several biologists, killing adult birds is the quickest and the most humane way of controlling the fast-growing population of mute swans. Sign up to receive the latest and greatest articles from our site automatically each week (give or take)...right to your inbox. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, USA. ➺ The cobs may weigh 9.2-14.3 kg (20-32 lb), while the pens may weigh 7.6-10.6 kg (17-23 lb). Back to top. It is found all over the Britain, Eurasia, to as far as China and New Zealand. Because they are so large and unmistakable, it is not difficult to find mute swans on a variety of waterways, lakes, and ponds within their range. A male (known as a ‘cob’) is larger than a female (known as a ‘pen’), and has a relatively larger knob on its bill. In captivity, they have lived 30 to 40 years. Mute Swan Breeding. ➺ These swans are seen even in urban areas and parks. Would you like to write for us? The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. If another swan approaches members of the pair raise their wings and tuck their neck in a “busking” display to warn them off. USGS Patuxtent Wildlife Research Center (2014b). The aggressive nature and enormous appetites of these nonnative birds pose a problem for wildlife managers: Mute Swans displace native species from breeding and foraging sites, and can damage feeding habitat by overgrazing aquatic vegetationBack to top, Mute Swan populations increased between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. They are also found in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. He then places vegetation next to the platform for the female, who piles the material onto the nest base, using her body and feet to mold a nest cup. Ciaranca, Michael A., Charles C. Allin and Gwilym S. Jones. They molt from August to September. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. Mute swans are the most common swans in the wild, in parks or on country estates in their native range. The mute swan (Cygnus olor) is one of the heaviest of flying birds and it is prominent by its pure white plumage. The inexperienced young fliers often fly into overhead power cables and injure themselves. Mute swans are graceful on the water but can appear awkward and ungainly in flight and on land. On the water they sometimes hold their wings slightly raised and sail with the wind. Quick facts. Plant foods include eelgrass, several species of pondweeds, along with filamentous algae, wigeon grass, sea lettuce, bladderwort, flowering grasses, and agricultural grains. Mated pairs raise one brood per year, and young swans begin breeding when they are 2-3 years old. The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA. ➺ Their wingspan can be 2.5 meters (8 ft) wide! It is known for its beauty and grace. Get Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds. Get Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds. Baby swans are called ‘cygnets.’ They are grayish-brown with a gray bill. They are responsible for reduced availability of these plants to native wildlife. Currently there are 500,000 mute swans of which 350,000 are breeding in the former Soviet Union. Downy young Mute Swans (called cygnets) come in two color morphs: a gray form and a white form. The mute swan is very distinctive with its long neck and white plumage, but several other swans and geese can look very similar. They have got broad webbed feet which allow the swan to swim efficiently. The birds learn to fly when they are 4 – 5 months old. Able to move around nest, feed and enter water as soon as down dries. When swimming, they may hold their wings over their backs in a puffed up position to advertise their strength, and the neck may be held in a strong S-curve as an aggressive posture. They have a remarkable display of flight into the air and are able to reach a speed of 48 – 54 miles per hour. They are also affected by lead poisoning from spent shot and fishing weights.Back to top. Top flight speed is 80 to 90 km/h (50 to 56 mph). This is considered the largest weight ever recorded for a flying bird. Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl(Order: Anseriformes, Family:Anatidae). Some variations exist between the more common swan species. ➺ A mute swan can be 125 to 170 cm (49 to 67 in) long. People domesticated Mute Swans in Europe for use as food and pets. In Maryland, a population of over 4,000 had been reduced to fewer than 100 birds by 2012. As they immerse their heads into the water, only the tails remain above the surface. Sometimes male can incubate eggs at night. There are six different species of Swans including the mute Swan, Tundra Swan, Black Swan, Trumpeter Swan, Black-Necked Swan, and the Whooper Swan. ➺ The swishing noise created by the wings of a mute swan in flight can be heard up to half a mile away. If a female loses her mate, she remates quickly and usually chooses a younger male. ➺ Males weigh about 11 kg (24 lb) and females weigh about 9 kg (20 lb).