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Key Facts About Swans

Before we go onto looking at the detailed life of a Mute Swan, it will be worthwhile spending a little time getting to know some key facts about them. Please bear in mind, (and this applies to everything on this website) I’m not a biologist, so if you want fully detailed scientific facts and discussion, I would recommend consulting some of the books I’ve suggested in the acknowledgements and further reading section.

The scientific name for the Mute Swan is Cygnus olor – those words being Greek and Latin in origin respectively and both meaning swan. Swans belong to an order called Anseriformes and a family named Anatidae.

There are in excess of 31,700 Mute Swans in Great Britain, the population having approximately doubled over the past 30 years or so.

The average Mute Swan weight for an adult is about 11kg, with the males averaging about 12kg and females about 9kg. Although, it’s not very unusual for a Mute Swans to weigh over 15 kg. The heaviest I’ve ever read about was a Polish Mute Swan weighing an incredible 23kg!

Swans are not the heaviest flying bird, as many mistakenly people believe. That record belongs to the Great Bustard. Nor are Mute Swans the biggest swan, that title belongs to the Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator), living in North America.

When it comes to size, the average length is about 1.52m (this is the distance from the bill to the tail, when the bird is laid out flat) and the average wingspan is 2.23m. As mentioned previously for the weight of a swan, males are slightly larger than females.

Mute Swans live on average about 7 years in the wild, but one of the longest living swans lived for 27 years, 6 months and 27 days. That record was set in Derbyshire in 2011.

They are mainly found in Northern and Central Europe along with many in Asia. There are other smaller populations in North America, along with a few in the southern hemisphere counties, such as Australia and South Africa.

Back to Swan Information page

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