Mute Swan - Cygnus olor
The mute swan is 50-60 inches in length with a wingspan of about 82-94 inches. It is completely white and has a long, graceful neck; an orange bill with a
black knob at the base; a black face; and
black feet and legs. It has a pointed tail and lacy wing feathers. Males and females look alike, but the male is usually a little larger, and the
black knob at the base
of his bill is larger.
The mute swan is an exotic species that was introduced to North America when Europeans brought it over from Europe in the 19th century. It is now found in the wild on the Atlantic Coast from New Hampshire south to North Carolina and in the the Great Lakes region. Mute swans are also found in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Mute swans mate in the early spring. Male and female pairs may mate for many years. The female lays 5-6 eggs in a cup-shaped depression lined with down on a large mound
The female and the male incubate the eggs for
36 to 38 days. The female spends more time incubating the eggs than the male. The male spends a lot of his time guarding the nest.
The mute swan isn't really mute; it does make a soft snorting call and it hisses loudly when it is threatened.
Male swans are very territorial and chase intruders away. They arch their wings over their backs and charge at the intruder. Mute swans take off from the water by running very fast and flapping their wings until they build up enough speed to take off.
Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Patrik Åberg