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Mute swan

What am I?

I am a large, long necked waterbird.

Where do I come from?

I can be seen year-round in the UK, with some additional birds migrating from Europe in the winter.

A bit about me

I live in fresh and salty water, including sometimes in the sea! I feed mainly on submerged vegatation. My orange bill distinguishes me from the other two swans found in the UK, the Bewick’s swan and the whooper swan. On the water I’m a graceful swimmer but on land my size makes me an awkward, lumbering walker. Also, because I’m heavy, it is hard for me to take off and I need a long runnning start. When airborne, you’ll be able to hear the loud whirring of my wing beatts when I fly past.

Despite my name, I actually make a variety of sounds, including hissing loudly when I’m feeling threatened or wanting to intimidate other animals.

I build very large nests made ut of piles of reeds or seaweed and will typicall lay 4-7 eggs, with my young able to fly in 4 and a half months.

Local spotlight

I am common in the Solent. Most ponds, lakes, rivers and estuaries have pairs throughout the year. I am easy to spot and identify and I am massive and white!

Conservation status

I’m amber listed in the UK

My name might not be listed in the Solent’s Special Protection Areas but I am still definitely important for the coastal ecosystem and form part of the waterbird assemblages which these regions are protected for.

Fun fact

I am unique among UK birds in that I am Crown property, and there are severe penalties for anyone found guilty of harming me.