The Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) is a species of swan and a member of the waterfowl family Anatidae. White Mute Swans are very territorial; they make grunting, hoarse whistling & snorting noises to communicate with their cygnets and hiss at predators.
Sold in pairs only.
The name ‘mute’ derives from it being less vocal than other swan species. Measuring 125 to 170 cm (49 to 67 in) in length when grown, this large swan is wholly white in plumage with an orange beak bordered with black. It is recognisable by its pronounced knob atop the beak, which is larger in males. Young birds, called cygnets, are not the bright white of mature adults, and their bill is dull greyish-black, not orange, for the first year. The down may range from pure white to grey to buff, with grey/buff the most common.
Cygnets typically retain their grey feathers until they are at least one year old, with the down on their wings having been replaced by flight feathers earlier that year.
All mute swans are white at maturity, though the feathers (particularly on the head and neck) are often stained orange-brown by iron and tannins in the water.
Behavior: They are monogamous and often reuse the same nest each year, restoring or rebuilding it as needed. Unlike black swans, mute swans are usually strongly territorial with just a single pair on smaller lakes, though in a few locations where a large area of suitable feeding habitat is found they can be colonial. Mute swans can be very aggressive in defence of their nests and are highly protective of their mate and offspring. The familiar pose with neck curved back and wings half raised, known as busking, is a threat display.
Breeding: Mute swans lay from four to ten eggs, and the female broods for around 36 days, with cygnets normally hatching between the months of May and July. The cygnets do not reach the ability of flight before an age of 120 to 150 days: this limits the distribution of the species in the northern edge of its range, as the cygnets must learn to fly before the waters freeze.
Diet: The food commonly includes agricultural crop plants such as oilseed rape and wheat, and feeding flocks in the winter may cause significant crop damage, often as much through trampling with their large webbed feet, as through direct consumption.