Amazing facts about Mute Swans

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Mute Swans are huge birds with white feathers. They are commonly found in both fresh water and salt water, mostly near Rhode Island, Long Island and in the lower regions of Hudson Valley. Other members of the swan family are geese and ducks but the Mute Swans have a distinguished long neck in ‘˜S’ shape. They can be quite harmful and tend to destroy submerged aquatic plants. They are sometimes responsible for moving native species from a section of water and degrading the quality of water in which they stay.

There are several amazing facts about the mute swans that are rarely known to all. Some of them have been highlighted below:

They feed on weeds growing in ponds, seaweed, and wild celery and sometimes even go for invertebrate aquatic animals. During winter, they feed on eelgrass. They uproot the grass from the base instead of grazing like other animals. They can eat approximately upto 8 pounds of vegetation a day!

Do not go by their name as they are actually not mute. While guarding their territory, they are likely to make a hissing noise to drive away predators.

A swan is the largest known flying bird. . Mute Swans are quite large and heavy birds so they need an extended runway before flying.

At the time of flight, they extend their necks. The stiff feathers lining their wings make a swooshing sound while flapping which can be heard from a distance of about half a mile.

A pair of Mute Swans is partners for a lifetime. They are known for their commitment. Most people are not aware of the fact that they do change partners but it is very rare. A swan is likely to re-mate when the partner dies. It is generally done by female swans and they prefer choosing a younger partner!

It is very difficult to differentiate between male and female Mute Swans. It can be observed only during the season of breeding. During that time, the black knob like structure below the male swan swells up and becomes larger in comparison to that of a female.

The male swan when grown up is known as a cob while the adult female is called a pen. The cob is the only known bird to have a penis. The female tends to incubate her eggs for 30-35 days before they hatch. In the meantime, the male protects his nest from other external attacks. When the female has to feed, the cob takes over the incubation.

Swans are fond of grooming themselves at regular intervals. They are likely to help each other while grooming. One picks the other’s feathers in order to remove bugs and dirt from it. Generally they like to groom outside the water as it would be easier to ruffle feathers outside water.

Mute swans are sexually mature from the age of two! But they do not start breeding until they are four or five years old. They may pair up from the age of one year old but they will never start breeding then.

They become quite aggressive sometimes, towards human beings as well.

Mute swans are beautiful to look at. However, their aggressive nature can make them appear to be a nuisance for most.

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