Mute Swan (Cygnus Olor)


C. olor


A Mute Swan has a white body orange bill with a black knob at the base. It’s neck is long and held with a graceful S curve, and it’s legs and feet are black to grayish-pink. A Mute Swan can grow up to 5 feet long and has a wingspan that can grow up to 7 to 8 feet long. It can weigh up to 25 pounds.


Mute Swans are found on shallow waters along the Chesapeake Bay, including rivers, creeks and wetlands. They also lives on inland lakes and ponds but move to deeper waters in winter when the shallows freeze over. A Mute Swan can establish large territories of 4-10 acres.

Predators and Prey

The Mute Swan eats bay grasses such as eelgrass and widgeon grass, they pull out whole plants, including their roots and rhizomes. The adults eat more than eight pounds of bay grasses every day and they feed by submerging their head and neck underwater to reach for it’s food. Mute Swans will also eat wheat and other grains from farm fields during the winter.
There are no natural predators in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Native or Invasive

Mute Swans were intoduced to North America in the late 19th century, they have been widely viewed as an invasive species because they are rapidly increasing in numbers. For example, a study of population sizes i the lower Great Lakes from 1971 to 2000,, found that Mute Swan numbers have been increasing at an average of at least 10% per year. Their population has been doubling every 7 to 8 years. But Mute Swans are naturally native to Europe and Asia. So they are an invasive species.

Form vs. Function

I found nothing for form vs. function.

Interesting Facts

-Mute Swans are usually silent, but males will bark or hiss at intruders to their nesting area.
-And they are the largest bird in the Chesapeake Bay region.
-Cygnets (Mute Swans babies) are brownish-gray and lack the black knob at the base of their bills, but they turn all white by their second year.
-Parents usually chase their young out of the nest before the next breeding season begins.
-Mute Swans usually lives less than 10 years in the wild.
-The female Mute Swan lays 4-10 light gray or bluish-green eggs that hatch in about 35 days and produce an average of six young, called cygnets.
-They begin breeding by its third spring.
-Mute Swans hold their neck stretched straight ahead when they are flying.
-They often fly in pairs or small groups.
Their wingbeats make a whooshing or whirring sound.


  1. Works Cited
  2. "Chesapeake Bay Program." Bay Blog RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2012. <>.
  3. "Mute Swan." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 14 Nov. 2012. Web. 20 Nov. 2012. <>.