Mute Swans

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Mute swans have the botanical emblem, Cygnus Olor. This waterfowl specie is regarded to have its source from Eurasia and was introduced to other parts of the world, including Australia, North America, and South Africa. A typical mute swan has a white plumage, and weighs up to 9kg (for the female) and 13 kg (for the male). An adult measures averagely about 150 cm (1.5 meters) when on a full length, and 240 cm (2.4meters) when the wings are fully stretched. It has a black bill as a short extension (basal knob) from the white feathers and grows into an orange beak.

The males are recognizable by their larger size and the larger knob at the top of their beaks. The webbed feet of mute swans vary in colors and could go from black to greyish pink. They are usually quiet, and can’t make coordinated sounds which could be understandably heard from a long distance. Hence, the name, mute swans. The sounds given by the mute swan can be heard within a short distance and they can be described as; a mild, barking sound, hisses, and whistles. Their flapping of wings makes up for their less vocal nature, as their wings flap vigorously and can be heard at a distant, almost 2 kilometers away.

 The cygnets of this species share interesting and contrastive features with the adults. They have a characteristic grey or white down, against the total white of a typical adult, mute swan. They also have tan/grey/black bills; lack the basal knob, which is orange and present respectively in the adult swan. A typical cygnet is more vocal than a normal adult swan. They make interesting chirping and high-pitched whistling when lively.

 Mute swans are territorial, unlike the black swans. They can be very aggressive and defensive, fighting as a family, when defending their territories. Their defense could be against humans who wander into their territory and rafts on rivers, by which they feel threatened.The mute swans bring the concern of a balanced ecosystem. With a population of hundreds of thousands, environmental agencies have considered the mute swans (and other species) to be major disruptors of various terrestrial and aquatic habitats.

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