The Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) is a large waterbird native to Eurasia. It is a majestic bird with a wingspan that can reach up to 8 feet and a length of up to 5 feet. Adult mute swans can weigh between 20 and 30 pounds, with males being larger than females. Their size and graceful white plumage make them easy to spot in the wild.
The most distinguishing field mark of the mute swan is the bright orange bill with a black knob at the base. The knob is more prominent in males and is absent in juveniles. The plumage of the mute swan is pure white, and the feathers on the wings have a distinct black border. During the breeding season, the male mute swan will also display a larger and more pronounced knob on its bill.
Mute swans are non-migratory birds and are typically found in the same area year-round. However, they may undertake short-distance movements in search of food or to avoid harsh weather conditions. In the United States, they are considered an invasive species and can be found in many water bodies across the country.
Mute swans are typically found in freshwater environments such as lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers. They are opportunistic feeders and will eat a variety of aquatic vegetation, insects, and small fish. They are also known to steal food from other birds and will scavenge for food near human settlements.
Mute swans are known for their aggressive behavior, especially during the breeding season. They will fiercely defend their territory and their young, and may attack other birds or humans who come too close. Despite their sometimes confrontational behavior, mute swans are beloved by many and are a popular subject of artwork and literature.