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Cygnus Olor - Reflection Of A Mute Swan Standing On One Leg  by © Sophie W. Smith
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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Subfamily: Anserinae
Tribe: Cygnini
Genus: Cygnus
Species: C. olor
Binomial name
Cygnus olor

The Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) is a species of swan, and thus a member of the duck, goose and swan family Anatidae. It is native to much of Europe and Asia, and (as a rare winter visitor) the far north of Africa. It is also an introduced species in North America, Australasia and southern Africa. The name ‘mute’ derives from it being less vocal than other swan species.234 Measuring 125 to 170 centimetres (49 to 67 in) in length, this large swan is wholly white in plumage with an orange bill bordered with black. It is recognisable by its pronounced knob atop the bill.

The Mute Swan was first formally described by the German naturalist Johann Friedrich Gmelin as Anas olor in 1789, and was transferred by Johann Matthäus Bechstein to the new genus Cygnus in 1803. It is the type species of the genus Cygnus.5 Both cygnus and olor mean “swan” in Latin; cygnus is related to the Greek kyknos.67

Despite its Eurasian origin, its closest relatives are the Black Swan of Australia and the Black-necked Swan of South America, not the other Northern Hemisphere swans.2 The species is monotypic with no living subspecies. Read more

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