Adults range from 140 to 160 cm (55 to 63 in) long, although can range in extreme cases from 125 to 170 cm (49 to 67 in), with a 200 to 240 cm (79 to 94 in) wingspan. Males are larger than females and have a larger knob on their bill. Mute Swans are the second largest waterfowl species after the Trumpeter Swan. The Mute Swan is one of the heaviest flying birds, with males (known as cobs) averaging about 11-12 kg (24-26 lb) and the females (known as pens) weighing about 8.5-9 kg. All adults are white though the feathers (on the head and neck) are often stained orange-brown by iron and tannins in the water.
Habitat and Distribution
The Mute Swan is found naturally mainly in temperate areas of Europe across western Asia, as far east as the Russian Maritimes, near Sidemi. It is partially migratory throughout northern latitudes in Europe and Asia, as far south as north Africa and the Mediterranean.
They feed on a wide range of vegetation, both submerged aquatic plants which they reach with their long necks, and by grazing on land. They also eat crop plants such as oilseed rape and wheat.
Mute Swans nest on large mounds that they build with waterside vegetation in shallow water. Male and female swans share the care of the nest, and once the cygnets are fledged it is not uncommon to see whole families looking for food.