Mute Swan
Cygnus olor
Family Anatidae
Subfamily Cygninae

The mute swan is an ornamental park swan that was originally brought to America for its aesthetic value.  Now well-established, it is the only member of the swan subfamily Cygninae regularly seen in New England.

Identifying Traits (both sexes):

  • Pure white plumage
  • Long, sinuous neck, usually held in an S-curve when swimming
  • Bright orange bill with a prominent black knob
  • Usually swims with wings held erect
  • Legs black; set far back on body
  • Large, black webbed feet
  • Juvenile: Predominantly dingy brown, bill pale pink
  • Size: 150 cm (60”)
  • Weight: 11 kg (25 lbs.)
Adult male  

Voice: The mute swan is, unsurprisingly, mute.  However, swans have been known to hiss when their nests or young are threatened, and their wingbeats make a musical whistling sound.

Habitat: The mute swan lives in bodies of both fresh and salt water, including park ponds, coastal lagoons, and bays.

Range: The mute swan was introduced in the Northeast, and areas near the coast in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts comprise the majority of its New England range.

Interesting Facts: Except for a few special populations, every mute swan in the United Kingdom is property of the British monarch.



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