Fun Mute Swan Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 09, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Fact-checked by Jacob Fitzbright
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Mute swan facts are interesting to read.

Are you interested in geese or ducks? If so, the mute swan will really intrigue you.

The mute swan (Cygnus olor) is a wild variety of swan, native to Asia and Europe, with wintering grounds in northern Africa. These swans were also introduced in North America, parts of Oceania, and South Africa. The North American population of mute swans is considered to be invasive.

Mute swans are known for their elegant appearance, with their white plumage and long curved necks. However, they are born with gray or buff feathers. The female bird of this species is smaller than the male.

The males and females usually mate for life. During the breeding season, they carry out their nesting near water bodies like lakes and ponds. The nest site is usually selected by the male bird, and the female bird is responsible for incubating the eggs.

These swans are extremely protective over their nesting sites and display aggressive behavior, in general. They also cause degradation of the wetland ecosystems by over-grazing. Hence, mute swans are considered to be bad by some.

To learn more about mute swans, keep reading! If you like this article, you can also check out swan facts and black swan facts.

Mute Swan Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a mute swan?

The mute swan is a kind of bird, belonging to the family of ducks, geese, and swans.

What class of animal does a mute swan belong to?

Mute swans are members of the class Aves. They are a species under the genus Cygnus.

How many mute swans are there in the world?

The global population of this bird is estimated to be between 598,000-615,000. The population range in different regions varies, but they are not really considered to be rare, especially in North America.

Where does a mute swan live?

Mute swans are native to Europe and Asia, with their winter range extending to North Africa. Additionally, their population has been introduced in several parts of the world like North America, the southern region of Africa, and parts of Oceania (Australia and New Zealand).

These birds are migrants in some of their natural range and travel to any region with a milder climate during the winter.

What is a mute swan's habitat?

Mute swans are found in any kind of aquatic habitat in their natural range. Their populations can be seen in ponds, bays, marshes, lakes, or other kinds of wetlands. Their common breeding habitat includes fresh or saltwater lakes and ponds. During the winter season, they tend to travel to water bodies that are not frozen.

Who do mute swans live with?

In a small region, usually, only one pair of mute swans can be seen living together. However, they are capable of forming colonies in larger areas.

When the young swans or cygnets reach a certain age, they join flocks that have other non-breeding young cygnets. During the winter season, gatherings of more than 100 mute swans in open saltwater have been noted.

How long does a mute swan live?

In the wild, these birds can live until 19 years of age. In captivity, they have a longer lifespan and are known to live for 30-40 years.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season in mute swans starts in March or early April. These birds generally form monogamous pairs and mate for life.

The nest site is usually selected by the male swan, and the nest is constructed using aquatic vegetation, pebbles, and feathers. They choose to build their nest near lakes and ponds. Each nest contains five to seven eggs after successful breeding, but up to 12 eggs have also been noted.

The female swan incubates the egg for 36-38 days, till hatching. Both the swans in the pairs are known to feed the young.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the mute swan has been marked as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN. These birds are not under any threat of endangerment.

However, death can be caused due to lead poisoning, avian influenza, and oil spills. Mortality has also been recorded due to the ingestion of fishing hooks or fishing lines.

Mute Swan Fun Facts

What do mute swans look like?

Two Mute Swans in clear water

Mute swans are quite large in appearance and have white plumage with an orange bill. Their head and neck might get a brown tinge from the iron content of the water.

They have a distinct black knob that is present at the base of their bill. This black knob separates mute swans from North American swans. The young swans or cygnets are usually gray or buff in color with a dark gray bill.

How cute are they?

More than cute, adult mute swans are very elegant in appearance. They can be seen swimming in the water with their long neck in an S-shape, which is really beautiful to look at. The young cygnets are also very adorable.

How do they communicate?

Mute swans communicate with the help of visual and vocal methods. Vocal communications of this species include whistles, bark-like sounds, hissing, and so on. However, they are mostly silent and are considered to be much quieter than other swans. Hence the name 'mute' swan was given to this bird.

How big is a mute swan?

The length of an adult mute swan is between 56.6-62.2 in (144-158 cm). They have considerably long wings which measure between 78.7-98.4 in (200-250 cm). Mute swans are slightly smaller than a North American species of swan, known as the trumpeter swan. These swans have a length of almost 72 in (182.8 cm).

How fast can a mute swan fly?

Mute swans have large wings, with the help of which they can attain a maximum speed of 50-55 mph (80.4-88.5 kph) during flight. These birds are quite audible during their flight, as their wings produce a lot of sounds.  

How much does a mute swan weigh?

This bird species is quite large and heavy, and the adult swans weigh between 16.7-31.5 lb (7.6-14.3 kg).  

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female mute swans are known as cob and pen, respectively.

What would you call a baby mute swan?

Baby mute swans are called cygnets.

What do they eat?

These birds are omnivorous in nature, but their diet mostly consists of aquatic plants. Some of the common aquatic vegetation eaten by these swans are eelgrass, sea lettuce, wigeon grass, pondweeds, and algae.

They also feed on aquatic insects, frogs, mollusks, and fish. Since these swans collect food from the deeper waters, other waterfowl species sharing their habitat are not in competition with them for food.

Are they dangerous?

Mute swans are known to display aggressive behavior, especially when they have to defend their territory and nest. They are capable of chasing and attacking humans and can cause severe harm to children.

Even the domesticated birds of this species display aggressive behavior. Additionally, since mute swans feed on a large amount of vegetation, they cause a great reduction in the aquatic vegetation of that place.

Their territorial and aggressive nature also drives away other native waterfowl species. All these reasons have led biologists to label mute swans as an invasive species, in North America.

Would they make a good pet?

In some regions of North America, it is illegal to keep mute swans as pets. However, if it is legal in your state to own one, it is important to remember these birds are quite aggressive and need to be handled carefully.

They also have certain requirements which need to be fulfilled, like the presence of enough water for them to swim in and food. It is best to keep them in pairs.

Did you know...

Mute swans were first categorized as Anas olor in 1789 by Johan Friedrich Gmelin.

The national bird of Denmark is the mute swan.

What is the difference between a swan and a mute swan?

There are some key differences between a mute swan (Cygnus olor) and other varieties of swans. First of all, as the name suggests, mute swans are much quieter than other swans.

These birds swim with their neck in an S-shape and their bills pointing downwards, which is not seen in other swans. The black knob at the base of their bills also acts as a distinguishing character.

How did mute swans get to North America?

Some populations of mute swans were introduced in North America in the mid 19th century. These birds were used to decorate and enhance the estates and parks.

They were also displayed in zoos. However, some of the birds escaped and established their population in other areas of North America, thus, expanding their range. Breeding in such populations led to a steady increase in the number of these birds in the wild.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including ladybird facts or mealy parrot facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable mute swan coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Jacob Fitzbright

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature and Philosophy

Jacob Fitzbright picture

Jacob FitzbrightBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature and Philosophy

A highly motivated individual with a passion for writing and a talent for engaging with people. Jacob has a degree in English literature and philosophy from Oxford Brookes University, he has a strong academic background in critical thinking and analysis. He has honed his communication skills through his experience in hospitality, where he ran a successful bar and restaurant and developed his writing skills by creating weekly quizzes. In his free time, Jacob enjoys skateboarding, playing soccer, and solving puzzles.

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