Information about: Swan

Index | Swan

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Swan. A genus of swimming birds, distinguished as a group by the bill being of equal length with the head, and broad throughout its length; by the cere being soft; by the front toes being strongly webbed, while the hinder toe is not webbed, and has no lobe or underskin. The species which inhabit or visit Britain are the mute or tame swan, the whooper, whistling, or wild swan, and Bewick's swan. The mute or tame swan, so named from having little or no voice, is the only species which is permanently resident in Britain. The nest is constructed of reeds and grasses, and is generally situated near the edge of the water on some islet. The young ("cygnets") when hatched are of a light bluish-gray color. The food consists of vegetable matters, smaller fishes, worms, etc., and fish-spawn. The wild swan and Bewick's swan pass the winter in Great Britain, flying northward in the spring. The first is a native of Iceland, eastern Lapland, and northern Russia; the second has its home farther east. They have their representatives in North America in the trumpeter swan, and the North American whistling swan, Olor columbianus. South America produces one very distinct species, the beautiful black-necked swan. The black swan of Australia, like the white swan, is frequently kept as an ornament in parks or pleasure grounds.