Mute Swans in Ireland
mute swan is one of Ireland's most attractive birds. With it's striking
white plumage and long slender neck the mute swan is instantly recognisable.
The male and female are very similar however the male is larger
with a larger black knob on the forehead. Mute swans are amongst
the largest flying birds in the world.
mute swans, known as cygnets, are grey and relatively unattractive
until they develop their adult white feathers.
Swans are very territorial right throughout the year round and will
vigorously defend their territories. When they feel threatened they
puff out their plumage, to appear large, and will hiss loudly and
use their wings to strike out if attacked. Usually he only time
they become actively aggressive is when they are protecting their
nesting ground or cygnets when they will chase off intruders, be
they other swans or humans who get too close.
the average life span for a mute swan is ten years the longest lived
mute swan was recorded at 28 years and five months in 2012.
Name for Mute Swan
Irish word for mute swan is Eala bhalbh.
mute swan's diet is largely based upon water plants. They use their
extended neck to reach 1 meter below the water surface to graze.
They also leave the water to graze on land vegetation. They are
also known to feed on insects, molluscs and small amphibians.
feeding bread to swans and other water birds is a favourite activity
for some humans, excessive feeding of this relatively low nutrition
source can cause dietary imbalance. Bread should not be given to
cygnets and young developing birds. Also, moulded bread should never
be fed to swans as the mould is toxic and can be transferred from
the beak to the plumage (during preening) and cause feather loss.
Mute Swans Nesting
mute swan's nest is made from reed stem and other aquatic vegetation,
with seaweed being used in coastal locations. Nests are very large
mounds and will be sited on islands or other inaccessible locations
Swan's eggs are 113 x 74 mm and are smooth. Eggs weigh 340.0 g of
which 11% approx. is shell. In the main the female incubates the
eggs however once hatched the cygnets are cared for by both the
female and male.
born cygnets are mainly lost to crows, herons, magpies, pike and
large perch. Both cygnets and adult mute swans are also the prey
of foxes and mink.
pollution, dogs, overhead cables, bridges, pylons, lead poisoning,
fishing-tackle injuries are some of the main threats to swans.
a Swan Break Your Arm?
In theory it is possible. If a wing in full span and velocity were
to hit a such as a child or an elderly person then it could occur.
In reality it is almost unheard of and is never used as a form of
attack as swans are a defensive bird.