Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Mute Swans are one of the largest and heaviest flying birds. They are non-native and were introduced to grace ornamental lakes and ponds but now have escaped into the wild and breed. They cause problems for native wildlife and can be aggressive.

They are entirely white, with long, graceful necks, orange bills with a large, black basal knob, black around the base of the bill, and black legs. Adults look alike, although males are larger than females.

Juveniles don’t have the orange-colored bills. Instead, they have dusky-pinkish bills. They may occasionally have dusky-brownish highlights on their body.

  • Cygnus olor
  • Length: 56 – 62 in (142 – 157 cm)
  • Weight: 416 oz (11789 g)
  • Wingspan: 84 – 96 in (213 – 244 cm)

Mute swans have two color morphs in their young (called cygnets). The “Royal” chicks have gray down from birth and grow into gray-brown and white feathers. The “Polish” chicks have all white down when they hatch and remain white all throughout. Their bills are pale pink. They also have pale pinkish-gray legs instead of black.


Mute Swans are originally from Europe but have become a non-native species in the United States, especially in the east. However, they are also now present in some western US states.

Habitat And Diet

You can find numerous Mute Swans in city parks, protected bays, and lakes. You may also find them in shallow wetlands, rivers, and estuaries.

Mute Swans spend most of their time floating on water. They forage for underwater vegetation, and this is their staple diet when on water. They may also forage for food on land, feeding on grass and agricultural crops.

Mute Swans Call:


Nests of Mute Swans are built by both male and female swans. Since swans are monogamous, they tend to reuse these nests each year, repairing and restoring them as needed. Nests are often found on islands in the middle or edge of a lake.

They use plants and vegetation to create a mound in which the female lays four to eight eggs. Both parents take turns in incubating the eggs for about thirty-five to thirty-eight days.

Fun Fact:

Adult swans are highly protective of their young and will aggressively defend them when they sense danger or threats. They will hiss as a warning and will immediately chase and attack the predator if the warning is ignored.