Camera: Fuji Finepix S8100 (As Is)
Location: Hoorn, The Netherlands, Europe
Date: May 28/2010
Subject: Mute Swan with Cygnet
Adults of this large swan range from 125 to 170 centimetres (49 to 67 in) long with a 200 to 240 centimetres (79 to 94 in) wingspan. They may stand over 120 centimetres (47 in) tall on land. Males are larger than females and have a larger knob on their bill.
The Mute Swan is one of the heaviest flying birds, with males (known as cobs) averaging about 12 kilograms (26 lb) and the slightly smaller females (known as pens) weighing about 9 kilograms (20 lb). An unusually big Polish cob weighed almost 23 kilograms (51 lb), surpassing the longer-bodied Trumpeter Swan to make it the heaviest waterfowl ever recorded. Its size, orange-reddish bill and white plumage make this swan almost unmistakable at close quarters. The most similar species is the Whooper Swan, but it has a yellow and black bill, lacks the curved neck, is longer and heavier, and lacks the characteristic projection above the bill.
Young birds, called cygnets, are not the bright white of mature adults, and their bill is dull greyish-black, not orange, for the first year. The down may range from pure white to grey to buff, with grey/buff the most common. The white cygnets have a leucistic gene. All Mute Swans are white at maturity, though the feathers (particularly on the head and neck) are often stained orange-brown by iron and tannins in the water.