Waterfowl Commonly Seen in Practice

Mute swan and cygnets

Mute Swan

Introduced from Europe, mute swans (Cygnus olor) are well established in North America, especially on the East coast. In fact, their successful introduction and expansion in North America has created significant problems for native wildlife like common loons (Gavia immer) and trumpeter swans (Cygnus buccinators). Mute swans are aggressive, and have been known to drive off similarly sized species.

The mute swan has a relatively heavy, gently curved neck, pale bill with a dark, distinctive base and a tail that is longer than other swans. Plumage is white. There is a knob at the base of the upper bill, and the bill is orange with a black tip and base. Males and females are alike, except that males are generally larger. The average weight is 10 kg (22 lb). Despite its name, this species is NOT mute, but they are usually silent.

The mute swan diet consists primarily of aquatic vegetation, as well as small amounts of aquatic insects, fish, and frogs.

Image by Andy Roberts.


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To cite this page: Pollock C. Waterfowl commonly seen in practice. December 19, 2012. LafeberVet Web site. Available at https://lafeber.com/vet/waterfowl-commonly-seen-in-practice/