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Bird Bio

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

--Sarah Warnock,

Mute Swan. Photo by Rich Stallcup.
Characteristics: The popular swans of Shollenberger Park are the classic ones of fairy-tales. Large (40 inches) and snowy white, with a graceful, slender neck that curves in an elegant S-shape at rest. Adults have orange bill with black base, lores, and knob above bill.

Distribution: Old-world in origin, the Mute Swan was brought to the U.S. to grace ponds of eastern estates more than a century ago. Population expanding to the west.

Food: Aquatic plants, flowers, seeds, and tubers

Voice:Not mute! Snorts and hisses accompany short explosive barks when aggressive.

Behavior: Generally do not flock or migrate like Tundra Swans. Broods average five young. Parents aggressive, even toward humans.

Status: Mute Swan is not yet among the non-native bird species 'naturalized' to California.