Saturday, 15 August 2009

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

Latin Etymology: Cygnus ("swan") olor (species specific name)
A flock of assorted aged Mute Swan (Cygnus olorat Wellingborough, Northants - May 2013

Local Name (Japan): Kobu haku-chō (コブハクチョウ) - "Lump White-bird"
Weight: 8.5-12kg
Length: 120-170cm
Wingspan: 200-240cm
UK AMBER LIST  / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

One of the most common and easily seen of all British waterbirds, it is also one of the heaviest flying birds on earth and thus fairly difficult to miss.  They are found on most bodies of water, including lakes, rivers and parks even in urban areas and so should be one of the first waterbirds many people come across in their lives. Unlike the other two swans naturally occurring in Britain, the Mute Swan is identifiable by its orange beak with a raised black knob, and its "s" shaped neck, in addition to being the only one which occurs throughout the year rather than just wintering.  They are generally fairly approachable, so therefore should be very easy to photograph, though they may be aggressive so treat them with the respect that wild animals deserve.

Related Species:
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Cygnus
Subspecies: none - monotypic

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Common resident (6000 pairs) and common Winter visitor (79,000 birds)
 - Birds seen at sites including but not limited to Rutland WaterRegent's ParkKensington GardensPitsford ReservoirDitchford Gravel PitsEyebrook Reservoir and Geddington.
JAPAN - A rare feral species
 - TOKYO/HOKKAIDO 2014 TRIP: One pair seen in central Tokyo.

Further Notes: ArkiveBirdForum Opus, IUCN Red ListRSPBWikipedia, Xeno-canto

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