Mute Swan

STATUSLeast Concern

COMMON NAME (SCIENTIFIC NAME)Cygnus olor

DIETOmnivorous: Aquatic plants as well as some aquatic animals. Mostly vegetation will eat aquatic plants and algae. Occasionally they eat insects, fish, and crustaceans.

RANGENative to Europe and Asia. Introduced to North America in the late 1800's.

HABITATThey prefer to live in shallow coastal ponds, estuaries, bogs, and streams that flow into lakes.

Mute Swan

About: Mute swans are large, measuring between 50 and 67 inches long and weighing as much as 33 pounds. The all-white bird has a long, curved neck with an orange bill and a black face. Males are larger than females and have a larger black knob on their bill. These swans are one of the most recognized swan species.

These large birds have extremely powerful wings to keep them airborne. One hit from a swan’s wing is powerful enough to break a man’s arm!

Mute swans have enormous appetites. They can eat up to 8 pounds a day of submerged aquatic vegetation, removing food and habitat for other species faster than the grasses could recover.

Life Cycle/ Social Structure: Mute swans mate for life. They build large nests made from waterside vegetation that they’ll return to year after year. The female will care for the eggs and the male will aggressively guard the nest and his territory.  Males and females work together to care for the young swans, called “cygnets.” Some migrate to warmer areas during winter.

Predators: Adult mute swans typically are not prey upon unless they are sick or injured they are then threatened by foxes and coyotes. Eggs and hatchlings are are vulnerable to predation by raccons, mink, and foxes.