Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Birds

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

Description

The combination of their large size, very long neck, white plumage and orange-red bill with a black knob towards the top of the bill, makes them easily to recognise. Males and females are similar in appearance, although males are slightly larger and have a more prominent knob on the bill. Juveniles are greyish-brown with a grey bill, which lacks the knob seen in adults. The pose with a neck curved back and wings half raised is known as busking, and is a threat display, and both feet are paddled in unison during display causing a jerky movement; it can also be used for windsurfing during travel.

Habitat

The mute swan is found in a wide range of water bodies, including rivers, lakes, ponds, reservoirs, flood waters, tidal estuaries, and sheltered coasts.

Diet

The mute swan plunges its long neck underwater to forage for aquatic plants. It also eats insects, fish, worms and frogs.

Protection Status

This species is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Interesting Facts

The Mute Swan has been the national bird of Denmark since 1984.The pair of swans in Boston Public Garden are named Romeo and Juliet after the Shakespearean couple, though both were found to be female.

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