The Mute Swans of the World
Cygnus olor is the scientific name given to the mute swan. As the name implies, the swan is virtually quiet and only makes a hissing or grunting sound when it's angry or when the swan is attacking other birds or when provoked. The mute swan is of the Anatidae, a biological family which comprises of the duck, swan and geese.
The mute swan is very peaceful and a joy to the world because of its attractiveness and marvelous character. It's a large waterbird and when wading in the water, it uses its long S-shaped neck to search for plants underwater. This makes up most of the swan's diet, plus particular insects, snails and worms are also an addition. Any gravel or pounded stones consumed with the food by the mute swan contribute roughage, in other words, an indigestible material eaten will help in digestion.
Mute swans are found worldwide and is believed to be the largest in Europe, especially in Britain. They usually pair in the autumn season at the of age of between 2 and 4 years old. Unless the pair fail to breed, they usually stay together and mate for life, otherwise they will be separated if the requirements are not satisfactory. The non-breeding ones live together until they are mature enough to search for mates. Mute swans are found in several public parks where there's a lake or a pond, and many people enjoy feeding them and taking photographs of them. In addition, the male mute swan is called a cob, the female is called a pen and the younger ones are called cygnets. The cygnets are grey colored once hatched and eventually the feathers turn into brown color, and after a year it will turn white like the adults.
Mute swans also choose their breeding territory and build large nests. The nests may measure between 3 to 4 meters in diameter. The mute swans nests are quite easily identifiable because they are made up of a rounded mass of water plants and situated in an isolated location, and can be found if the swans are observed and followed where they're going. However, the male mute swan is very territorial in the breeding season and sometimes may become aggressive.
The eggs of mute swans are laid on different days for up to 12 days at least. This occurs any time between the months of April and July, especially the ones native in Europe and North America, and the female swan incubates them. They hatch after less than 38 days, once hatched, and after 5/6 more days, the cygnets are able to leave the nest anytime on that day. The young ones who've got their brown feathers, and still a cygnet, will walk in single file behind their parents. In some occasions the baby swan will ride on the mother's back when she is wading gently in the water. The cygnets gradually begin to fly at the age of 4 or 5 months, and they leave the nest on the nest spring season.
Poor dog gets a thrashing by the mute swans
Recognizing mute swans is not difficult at all. Their features are very distinct. They have an S-shaped neck, white plumage (feathers), the bill is bright orange with the tip (or base) of the bill being black. Their feet is webbed and also black and greyish. Because they have an outstretched S-shaped neck, their flying capabilities is superior. You may notice that their main flying feathers produce a continuous hum sound similar to a bee when flapping and beating their wings. This sound can only be heard clearly when in a quiet environment and the mute swan is flying on its own very calmly and joyfully. As stated earlier, mute swans will only hiss or grunt if it gets vexed, and no hoot sound is made, hence the name mute swan.
The birds are found all over the world in Europe, North America, Australasia, Asia and northern and southern Africa. Their habitat are in large areas of water such as ponds or lakes of a park and sometimes in rivers where the flow of the river is slow. In public parks, mute swans can be seen walking and running on the ground when it's not in mood for swimming. The adult mute swans are bigger then mallards and on average the mature mute swan measures around 125 - 170 centimeters in length and up to 2 meters of wingspan.
Aggressive Adult Mute Swan Bullies a Dog
What do you think of mute swans?
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