Belongs to: geese & swans

Compare with: bewicks swan
whooper swan

Mute swan Cygnus olor

BoCC Amber list

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Familiar large white waterbird found on all freshwater habitats

Widespread and common resident on lakes, rivers, canals, estuaries and fields

Not as silent as its name suggests, snorting and hissing when annoyed


Large white waterbird with 'S' shaped neck and orange and black bill; 150 cm

Swims on water, feeding on aquatic vegetation by up-ending; also grazes in fields

In flight wingbeats are audible


Pairs perform an elaborate pre-mating ceremony involving bowing and inter-twining of necks

Nest is a huge mound of vegetation on freshwater margins

One brood April – May; 5-7 white eggs with blue-grey wash

© Owen Keen

© Reston Kilgour