Harteman Wildfowl, presented by Jan Harteman

Mute swan

Cygnus olor

Knobbelzwaan / Höckerschwan / Cygne tuberculé

 

The Mute Swan is a member of the waterfowl family Anatidae. It is native to much of Europe and Asia, and (as a rare winter visitor) the far north of Africa. It is also an introduced species in North America, Australasia and southern Africa. The name 'mute' derives from it being less vocal than other swan species. Measuring 125 to 170 centimetres (49 to 67 in) in length, this large swan is wholly white in plumage with an orange bill bordered with black. It is recognisable by its pronounced knob atop the bill.

 

They live just about all types of water-bodies, from rivers, brakish shores to ponds and city park lakes. Large white birds, with a long neck capped off with a black face and knob at the base of the pinkish-red bill. The sexes are alike. The morph immutabilis ("Polish swan") has pinkish (not dark grey) legs and dull white cygnets; it is only found in populations with a history of domestication. It is a very common and popular species which breeds often the third year. The breeding season is from April to June. The 4 to 8 eggs hatch after a incubation period of 35 to 37 days.

 

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern (IUCN, 2009).

 

The global population is estimated to number c.600,000-610,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006), while national population estimates include: <c.100 breeding pairs and <c.1,000 wintering individuals in China; <c.50 individuals on migration and <c.50 wintering individuals in Korea and c.100-10,000 introduced breeding pairs in Japan (Brazil 2009).

 

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Above: close-up of an adult Mute swan

 

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Above: Flippers of a mute swan

 

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Above: The oil gland of a Mute swan above the base of the tail, this is where they get oil from to make their feathers waterproof

 

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Above: close-up of immature Mute swan

 

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Above: an imprint female Mute swan

 

Above: Mute swan cygnets

 

Above: tame Mute swans and Bewick's swans at a very attractive pond

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