Snow-white handsome, a prominent representative of the duck family. Such is the mute swan - the inhabitant of European lakes. What features does this graceful feathered, habits and lifestyle have? Photos and details in the article.
Appearance where dwells
The main places of settlement of mute swans are the European parts of lakes with reed or reed beds. Found in Asia, the UK and southern Africa. The bird is quite thermophilic, for the winter flies to the Black or Mediterranean Sea. Although in winter, swan pairs can be observed on native northern lakes, if they do not freeze. Swan sizes are impressive. A large body can reach 185 cm with a massiveness of up to 14-15 kg.
Attention! In Poland, recorded a case of growing individuals of this species weighing 25 kg
In the wingspan wings open up to 2.5 meters. Wide membranes on low legs allow you to comfortably and quickly swim and float. Against the background of snow-white plumage, a bright beak of a red-brick shade stands out. The mandible and the tip are outlined in rich black stripes.
- constant “elevation” of the wings, like a bird in every second “readiness mode” for flight,
- the main sound being made is hissing, hence the name,
- gray color of young stock - the plumage acquires completely white color by three years.
Shipun is friendly towards people, gratefully accepts food in a hungry time. The bird is easy to tame, representatives of this species are bred in some zoos in Europe. In the last century, the mute swan was a desirable prey for poachers; it was valued for meat and feathers. In the late 60s, due to the apparent disappearance of individuals, a bird under a hunting ban, it was listed in the red book.
Attention! In Denmark, the mute swan is nationally symbolic, and in the UK the swans of this species are royal property.
Birds live for the most part in the water, where they build their nests from the rhizomes of aquatic plants and reeds. By the end of the summer, the swans experience molting; they lose their ability to fly for almost a month. In about four weeks, “flying” feathers grow back.
In the diet of swans - flood parts of plants, algae, eat and small crustaceans and mollusks caught on the plants. Mute swans are not diving birds, but they can “catch” pieces of food and under the surface of the water. Thanks to the long neck, they lower their heads to a depth of almost 80 cm.
Mating season, breeding
A beautiful sight is the period of the swans token in March. Graceful dances around the females are replaced by joint courtship - the swans tenderly nibble each other, elegantly intertwining their necks. They live in families, forming couples for life. The nominal "swan fidelity" is really inherent in white beauties. Waiting for its half, the bird is sad. If you lose your pair, you may die of depression. Couples form at the age of 4 years. If the misfortune is due to trapping or the natural death of the female, the swan is left alone, he sometimes tries to “discourage” the spouse from other families. Rarely successfully - defending his chosen one, the swan will fight to the death.
Pair chicks hatch in large protected nests. In an attempt to hide the brood from prying eyes and danger, the female builds sides up to 1 m high. Young chicks live under parental care until the age of five months, until they acquire the ability to fly confidently and get food. Until then, the family does not leave their homes, even with the onset of cold weather.
Swans are a great example of beautiful family relationships. They never abandon their clan and partner in trouble, defending each other with their last strength. Watching spines is a great aesthetic pleasure, fortunately, zoos give this chance to people.
The birds make beautiful mating games: the male swims around the female with fluffed wings, uttering guttural sounds, then weaves it with her necks. Birds mate under water, after which the female builds a nest, and the male protects the territory.
The material used for building the nest is most often moss, plant stalks and dry reed. The diameter of the nest can be more than 1 m.
The average number of eggs in the clutch is 5-8 pcs. (young representatives may have 1-2 eggs). Hatching female offspring lasts about 35 days. Chicks born into the world are covered with white down and already have the ability to feed and swim independently.
The appearance of chicks coincides with the period of molting of the parents; therefore, the adults completely devote themselves to raising the young. Chicks often bask on the back of the mother, and by the age of 3-4 months they already have the ability to fly.
Many mongrels can often be found among people living outside the city limits. A snow-white couple often decorates a private pond surrounded by vegetation. Sometimes people overlap a part of the river, and on the sloping banks build a small house, which serves as a shelter from rain and snow, as well as a nesting place.
Birds carry the process of wintering at home easier, but it is necessary to constantly remove the ice.
The best option for keeping a swan is to equip the habitat with a compressor. This will prevent freezing of water, so that the reservoir will be open even in winter. In this case, the swans will stay on the water at night, refusing to go to the land. It is important to control the amount of feed. The water in the drinker should also be fresh.
For these birds a vital condition is a daily visit to the reservoir, both in summer and in winter. The lack of bathing adversely affects the water resistance of the pen and leads to inflammation of the coccyx. The swan begins to get wet and comb the beaky spot with its beak.
It is customary to keep these birds only in pairs: the mute swan living alone will suffer and hurt.
The swan feeds mainly on algae and underwater parts of plants. Diving to a depth of 80 cm, spines are added to the diet of small aquatic creatures: mollusks, fish and crustaceans.
Birds and cereals are eaten from agricultural land, but on land they are quite rare.
When kept at home, swans should not be overfed, as they are prone to obesity.
In winter, swans are fed root vegetables: carrots, cabbage, beets. In addition to plant foods, birds can be mixed in:
- dairy products,
- boiled fish, which will be particularly useful during the molting period,
Mute swan: what it looks like, where it lives, what it eatsThe majestic and graceful birds - mute swans, are often found in city parks with large ponds or lakes and invariably delight and admire all those who observe. At the same time, few people know about the peculiarities of life, nutrition and behavior of this species of swans: we offer to get to know them better.
Description and Features
Mute swans have a very expressive, spectacular appearance, which is only emphasized by the large size of the birds. They got their name due to the fact that the male makes a specific pinching soundif he or the pack is in danger. However, in addition to hissing, they are capable of producing sounds similar to grunting, whistling, snorting. Outwardly, the spike from other species of swans can be distinguished by a gracefully curved massive neck, an orange beak, constantly raised wings and a black cone at the base of the beak.
Dimensions and life expectancy
The main parameters of mute swans:
- male weight - 10-15 kg,
- female weight - 8–10 kg,
- body length - 150-160 cm,
- wingspan - 200–240 cm,
- life expectancy is 25–28 years in the wild, 30 years in captivity (however, birds often live for about 7–10 years).
Habitat and habitat
This feathered has a relatively large range: they live throughout Europe and Central Asia. Thanks to the efforts of a man, a spike can now be found in the south of the African continent, in Australia and New Zealand, in North America. It is noteworthy that in Europe most of the swans are tamed or live in semi-novole: they are bred as decorative birds for parks, while populations of wild birds dominate in Asia. Mute swan settles in territories up to 500 m above sea level. Usually they choose sea bays, estuaries, estuaries and fresh water in the city. Nest also on the Atlantic coast, the shores of the Baltic Sea, the Asian coasts. After breeding, offspring migrate to winter to the Black and Caspian Seas. Some birds stay for the winter in nesting places where they are fed by people. In such cases, they can be combined into small colonies.
Lifestyle and behavior
Birds are distinguished for their peace-loving, friendly and calm disposition. They favorably relate to other animals and birds, and cases of aggression are possible only when defending their territory. When a danger arises, the male spreads its wings widely, bristling feathers on its back, arching its neck and swimming towards the uninvited guest. During the fight, the swans forcefully strike each other with their wings and beaks. That is why it is not recommended to show excessive interest, finding the nest of swans, as the male can cause serious injury, defending the clutch. Much of the time, the spike swans devote to cleaning the plumage of parasites and pollution, as well as lubricating it with the secretion of the oil gland. After the flight to the nesting site, they begin to molt, in which birds lose all their primary feathers and ability to fly. It is interesting that at first the female begins to molt, since at this time she incubates the eggs and cannot leave. After her plumage is replaced, the molt begins at the male: it lasts about 5–6 weeks. Despite the large size and considerable weight, the mute swans are excellent flyers. During migration, they are united in related groups, and then in many thousands of colonies, thus reducing the risk of predator attacks. Fly a beautiful slender key at a small height. If adverse weather conditions do not allow the bird to fly, the swans fall to the ground, hide their beaks and paws under the feathering and patiently wait for the weather to improve.
The basis of the diet of mute swans is vegetable food. Birds are in search of food throughout the day - a large adult individual can eat up to 4 kg of food per day. Due to the long flexible neck, birds can extract vegetation from the bottom in shallow water that other birds are not able to reach. When diving they dive to a depth of 1 m, while from the water you can see only the tail and legs. Underwater spines can be up to 10 seconds, all the time they eat. On land, birds use herbs, cereals, and fodder crops. From animal food, they are not averse to eat toads, small fish, insects, clams.
Mute swans are monogamous birds and make a couple for life. This usually occurs at the age of 3-4 years. If one of the pair dies, the second after a while creates a new pair. For nesting, swans occupy a territory that the male carefully protects from competitors and enemies.
- puberty — 2–3 years,
- the beginning of nesting is March
- number of eggs - 5–9 pcs.,
- incubation — 34–38 days,
- feeding and caring for chicks - 4–5 months.
Mating season begins in early spring for those birds that have not yet found a partner. To obtain the location of the female, the male swims around her with raised wings, puffed feathers around his neck, twisting his head from side to side. If the female takes care of her, she becomes in a similar position. Pairing usually occurs in water. After that, the birds start nest arrangement: it is usually very large in size, may be located on the water in the form of a floating platform or in a reed. Sedge, cattail, reed and algae sprigs serve as building materials. Usually, they are harvested by the male, while the female is engaged directly in construction, connecting the stalks into clumps of mud. The result is a nest with a diameter of up to 150 cm and a height of up to 60 cm. At the top, the female makes a depression (10–15 cm), lines it with soft plants and down. When the nest is ready, the female starts laying eggs in a day, then proceeds to incubating. She can only leave for feeding, at this time the eggs warm the male. When hatched, the head of the family carefully guards the female and the clutch, and both parents take care of the offspring. Just hatched chicks able to immediately leave the nest and eat what they find themselves. Shortly after hatching, they descend into the water, returning to the parents' nest for the night. Sometimes small chicks climb up to the adult under the wing and thus move through the water. Chicks grow up and mature slowly, with their parents they stay up to a year. Starting from 3 months, the swans are already able to fly.
Size and conservation status
At the turn of the XIX – XX centuries throughout the whole of Europe, the mute swans were actively hunted, therefore their number sharply decreased. In 1960, hunting for birds was banned, due to which their numbers began to grow, and at the moment there is no threat of extinction. To date, the number of these birds reaches 500 thousand individuals. Previously, the mute swan was listed in the Red Book of the Republic of Belarus (currently excluded), the Republic of Bashkortostan and some regions of the Russian Federation. On the territory of Russia to hunt for mute swans is prohibited.
Video: Mute Swans
The beautiful and majestic birds we have considered require careful and attentive attitude. Now often, the spines are domesticated completely and are kept as a decorative bird on private farmsteads with access to the reservoir. The bird calmly treats people without showing fear or aggression - that is why the spines have become such frequent inhabitants of urban ponds.
Description and features of the mute swan
Mute swan - a bird with a very bright, snow-white outfit: in the sunlight it literally blinds. He can rightly be considered the largest representative of the swan family - the length of an adult bird can be more than one and a half meters, and the wingspan reaches almost two and a half meters! Females are smaller and lighter than males.
To distinguish it from other types of swans is not difficult, pictured mute swan it can be seen that its long neck is curved S-shaped, its wings are often raised upwards, like sails.
The wingspan of a mute swan can reach 2 meters.
Another characteristic feature of this bird is that when a danger arises and the offspring is protected, the mute swan opens its wings, arches its neck and makes a loud hiss. Although the English version of its name in translation sounds like “Mute Swan” - this does not quite reflect reality. In addition to hissing, he can wheeze, whistle and snort.
Like some other species of swans, the spike above the beak has a dark cone-shaped growth - and the males have more than the females.
This feature manifests itself only in adult mature individuals. The beak is orange-red, on top, along the contour and the tip of the beak is black. Also in black painted paws along with membranes.
Once the hunting of mute swans was a popular trade, which negatively affected the population of these birds. In the middle of the last century, it was officially banned.
However, to this day it is a rather rare bird that needs special protection. The pollution of water bodies due to the leakage of oil and fuel oil greatly damages the birds. They are dying, falling into the oil and fuel oil pools.
Mute swan brought in Red Books some countries and certain regions of Russia. In Europe, swans are often lured, they get used to people and become almost tame.
Interesting Facts about Mute Swan
- In order for this bird to fly, it needs a large enough space for a run. From land, they do not know how to take off.
- There are legends about the swan fidelity: if the female dies, then the male takes off to a great height, falls like a stone down and breaks. However, this is not entirely true: swans do form stable families that persist throughout their life - they do not change partners. But still, if one of the couple dies, the second partner creates a new family, they do not live alone.
- In Britain, the swan has a special status: all the livestock of these birds belong to the Queen personally and is under her special protection. In Denmark, it is recognized as a national bird, is one of its symbols.
Mute Swan Lifestyles and Habitat
Mute swan lives in water bodies of central Europe, Great Britain, some countries of Northern Europe, Baltic, it is also found in Asian countries.
In Russia, small numbers nest almost everywhere, including some areas of the northern part of the country - Leningrad, Pskov, and the Far East.
For wintering, spike swans fly to the Black, Caspian, Mediterranean, lakes of Central Asia. However, with the first thawed patches, it hurries to return to its habitat. Fly and winter, united in flocks. During the flight, you can hear the whistling sounds of the wings.
The mute swan spends most of its life on the water, only occasionally getting out to dry land. Ночью прячется в заросли тростника или водных растений. Часто селятся парами, на большом расстоянии друг от друга. Реже их можно встретить группой.
Лебедь-шипун — птица довольно агрессивная, чутко охраняет свою территорию от других птиц. Имеет сильные крылья и мощный клюв, который использует для обороны — известны случаи, когда лебедь наносил серьезные травмы даже человеку.
Eat mainly underwater plant parts, algae and young shoots, as well as small crustaceans and mollusks. For prey food, they often dip their heads deep under the water, tilting to an upright position. On land, almost no feeds, only in case of bad weather conditions - a storm or flood.
You should never lure a swan with bread - this is detrimental to his health and even life. It is best to give as a lure a mixture of cereals, juicy vegetables - pieces of cabbage and carrots.
Description of the swans
Swans are large, majestic waterfowl from the duck family, belonging in turn to the order of Anseriformes.. Currently, seven species of living swans and ten species of extinct species are known, and it is possible that they did not die out without human intervention. In all species of swans, the plumage can only have achromatic colors — black, gray, or white.
Character and way of life
Swans spend most of their lives in the water. They majestically, ceremoniously and measuredly float, slicing through the water, and at the same time their movements are filled with pride and slowness. When a swan plunges its head and neck into the water in search of food, its torso is outweighed down after them, so that only the back of the body, resembling a small pillow topped with a small tail, appears in sight. Wildlife swans are very careful, they trust neither humans nor other animals, and prefer to stay away from the shore, where they may be in danger.
If a real, rather than imaginary, threat hangs over them, the birds prefer to swim away from their enemy in the water, and only if it is impossible to avoid persecution, scatter by water, slapping on its surface with webbed paws and sometimes waving heavily by wings. If this does not help to escape from the predator that attacks them, only then the swans reluctantly rise into the air. When for some reason the swan cannot fly, it dives under the water and tries to avoid danger.
Birds living in parks and zoos quickly become accustomed to the fact that the attention of visitors is constantly on them. They become gullible to people and favorably agree to take food from them. Swans are very proud, they do not tolerate the presence of neighbors and, all the more, competitors. An already established couple will desperately defend their territory, not letting anyone in their possession.
These birds can be aggressive in the event that someone violates the peace and enters their territory. Swans are very strong and in a fight with a man one on one, they can easily break a hand to their enemies with a wing blow, and their powerful and strong beak makes them even more formidable opponents. If they settle near a person, for example, in gardens or parks, this means that the birds completely trust people and allow them to approach themselves in exchange for protection and feeding. Only in this case, they can come to terms with the presence of neighbors.
It is interesting! Scientists studying these birds have noticed that black swans are distinguished by their most calm and peaceful disposition. But the white spines, on the contrary, can be very cocky and aggressive.
All swan species are migratory birds. In the fall, they leave their homes to winter the warm southern seas or ice-free lakes on the coast, and return in the spring. A flock of flying swans, in front of which a leader flies, is called a wedge.
How many swans live
Swans are considered long-lived birds, and, indeed, they can live from 20 to 25 years in natural conditions and up to 30 years in captivity. However, the legend, which says that these birds can live up to 150 years, unfortunately, is an invention that does not correspond to the actual life of these amazing and truly beautiful creatures.
Types of swans
Currently, there are seven species of swans in the world:
- whooper swan
- mute swan,
- trumpet swan
- little swan
- american swan
- black Swan,
- black-necked swan.
One of the most common types of swans. These birds nest in the northern part of Eurasia, from Iceland to Sakhalin, and in the south their range extends to the Mongolian steppes and the northern part of Japan. It differs from its other relatives by a pipe cry issued during flight, which is carried over long distances. The color of the down-rich plumage of the whips is snow-white. Their beak is lemon yellow in color with a black tip. Another external feature of these birds is that on the water they do not bend the neck, like other swans, but keep it strictly vertically.
In contrast to the seeker, which looks similar to it, it flexes the neck in the form of the Latin letter S, while its head is inclined to the surface of the water. Due to the fact that the mute as a whole is larger and heavier than the Whooper, its neck visually looks thicker and appears shorter at a distance than it actually is. When flying, the mute swan does not emit tube clicks, but the sound of its large and strong wings cutting through the air, accompanied by the characteristic creaking of wide and long wing feathers, can be heard from afar.
It is interesting! This bird is so named because, in expressing its displeasure, it emits an evil hiss.
Spines live in the middle and southern regions of Asia and Europe. Their range stretches from the south of Sweden, Denmark and Poland in the west to China and Mongolia in the east. However, even there, these swans can be encountered infrequently, as they are very cautious and incredulous.
Outwardly similar to the whooper, but, unlike the yellow-black beak of the latter, its beak is completely black. The trumpeters are large birds whose weight reaches 12.5 kg and their body length is 150-180 cm. They live in the North American tundra, their favorite nesting sites are large lakes and wide, slowly flowing rivers.
This species, nesting in the tundra of Eurasia, ranging from the Kola Peninsula in the west to the Kolyma in the east, is also called tundra. It is distinguished from its fellows by the fact that the small swan is much smaller than them in size. Its body length is 115-127 cm, and its weight is about 5-6 kg. The voice of a tundra swan is similar to the voice of a whooper, but at the same time it is somewhat quieter and lower. Its beak is mostly black, only its upper part has a yellow color. The small swan likes to settle in open water, and forest reservoirs, on the contrary, tries to avoid.
It looks like a small one, only it can be slightly larger than the last (up to 146 cm) and its neck is slightly shorter and thinner. The color of the beak is almost completely black, except for a pair of small bright yellow spots in its upper part, located on the sides.
It is interesting! The pattern on the beaks of American swans is individual and unique, just like the fingerprints of people.
Before this species was widely distributed and lived in the North American tundra. But nowadays it does not occur too often. Prefers to winter along the Pacific coast to California in the south and the Atlantic Ocean to Florida. It is also found in Russia: on Anadyr, Chukotka and the Commander Islands.
This bird is distinguished by an almost black plumage, only the wing feathers on its wings are white. Many black swans have individual feathers taken separately; they are also white. They shine through the upper, black feathers, so that the overall tone from a distance may seem dark gray, and close up, if you look closely, you can notice concentric white stripes, diverging along the main black color. Even the legs of this species are black in color, exactly the same as the upper feathers. The beak is very bright red, with a white ring on its front.
Black swans are slightly smaller than spines: their height varies from 110 to 140 cm, and their weight is from four to eight kilograms. It has a very long neck, consisting of 32 cervical vertebrae, so that the bird can engage in underwater hunting in deeper waters. In contrast to the mute swan, the black swan can make trumpet sounds, calling its kinsmen or expressing discontent. They live in Australia and Tasmania. But in Europe as well as in North America, black swans are also found, however, as semi-wild birds living in parks and reserves.
Black necked swan
It differs from the rest of its relatives by an unusual two-color coloring of the plumage: its head and neck are painted black, while the rest of the body has a snow-white shade. Around the eyes is a narrow white framing in the form of a strip. The beak of these birds is dark gray, with a large bright red growth at its base. Legs of black-necked swans are light pink. These birds live in South America, from Chile in the north to Tierra del Fuego in the south, and fly to Paraguay and Brazil for the winter.
Most species of swans live in temperate zones and only a few of them can live in the tropics. These birds live in Europe, in some countries of Asia, in America and in Australia. Swans do not live in tropical Asia, in the north of South America and in Africa. On the territory of Russia, they are found in tundra zones and, much less often, in the forest zone. To the south, their range extends from the Kola Peninsula to the Crimea and from the Kamchatka Peninsula to Central Asia.
It is interesting! Some of the swan species are declared national treasures. For example, the whooper in Finland and the mute swan in Denmark. The latter, moreover, in the UK are considered the personal property of the queen, and only the members of the royal family are allowed to eat the meat of these birds.
The favorite habitats of swans are large lakes, overgrown with reeds and other aquatic vegetation off the coast. Sometimes they can settle on the coast of the sea if there are reed beds nearby. If people treat these birds respectfully and not too annoyingly, they can settle in ponds in the vicinity of settlements. With some exceptions, swans are migratory birds. But sometimes they can stay in their nesting sites. For example, the whines sometimes hibernate on the non-freezing straits of the White and Baltic Seas.
Basically, swans feed on plant food - the roots, stems and shoots of plants, after which they dive, submerging their long neck in water. Small animals, such as frogs, worms, bivalves, and small fish, are also often their food. On the ground, these birds can pluck grass, as, for example, their distant relatives - geese - do.
It is interesting! White swans are particularly gluttonous. The daily amount of food they eat is up to a quarter of the bird's weight.
Finding food for swans is usually not difficult. However, there may be periods in their lives when you have to go on a strict diet, which happens, for example, in the case of prolonged bad weather or when the water level rises strongly and the bird cannot reach the plants growing at the bottom. In this case, they can be very emaciated and weak. But even a forced hunger strike is not able to force these birds to leave their usual places and go in search of other, more promising in terms of food.
Adult swans have few natural enemies, as they are strong enough to drive almost any predator away. As for the chicks, in Eurasia, their natural enemies are usually foxes and birds of prey, such as the osprey or golden eagle, as well as skuas and skuas. Brown bears and wolves can also encroach on a nest or on a brood of swans. For birds living in the tundra, foxes can also be dangerous.
It is interesting! Bears and wolves are the only predators that can be dangerous not only for chicks, but also for adult swans.
For species living in North America, raven, wolverine, otter, raccoon, puma, lynx, hawk, owl are also natural enemies; even one of the turtles living in America can hunt nestlings. And the swans living in Australia, in addition to birds of prey, also should beware of wild dingo dogs - the only predatory animals that settled on this continent.
Population and species status
Currently, all types of swans, except for the small ones, listed in the Red Book of Russia with the status of a restored species, are widespread and their protection status is designated as “causing the least concern”. However, in addition to the small or tundra swan already mentioned, the Russian Red Book also includes the American one, which has been given rare status in our country.
Well, in conclusion, I would like to say a few words about a few not very well-known legends and traditions associated with these beautiful birds. So, the Ainu people had a tradition that people evolved from swans. The Mongols in ancient times believed that all people were created by gods of swan paws. But the peoples of Siberia were convinced that the swans did not fly away to the south for wintering, but turned into snow and after the onset of spring they again become birds. All these legends indicate that the swans have long attracted the attention of people and fascinate them with their grace and mystery. And our main task is to preserve these wonderful birds so that their descendants can see them in the wild and admire their graceful and majestic beauty.
Mute swan is one of the largest birds in Russia. Its weight reaches 14 kg. He likes stagnant ponds with large thickets of semi-aquatic vegetation - cattail, lake reeds, reeds, sedges. The facts of its nesting on the Cheboksary reservoir, the Volga lakes are recorded. It is distributed from southern Scandinavia and Central Europe to the Ussuri Valley, to the south to Asia Minor, Afghanistan, and Iran. In winter, it migrates to the areas of the Caspian and Mediterranean seas. Individuals living in the south do not fly away for the winter. This species is registered in seventy countries.
Mute swan: description
The large bird belongs to the duck family. Mute swan (squad of goose) is protected in many countries. The average body length of a bird is one hundred sixty centimeters (including neck), its wingspan reaches two hundred forty centimeters. White plumage, on the neck and head there is a light ocher coating. Adult individuals have a bright red beak, a bridle, and a velvety bump under the beak. Legs are painted in thick black.
The young mute swan has a light gray plumage with a brownish tinge. His beak is gray-mauve. The color of plumage changes by about three years. These birds have a thicker neck than other white swans. They keep it afloat in the form of the letter “S”, effectively raise the wings and frighten hissed eerily (hence the name). Unlike their northern counterparts, they cannot make loud trumpet sounds.
Habitat and food
Mute swan prefers to create a pair in which it lives permanently. Birds nest on overgrown lakes. Having taken a small body of water, the couple does not allow other birds into their territory. Nests are created in reed beds. They are a large structure of moss, reeds and grass. For the construction of birds use last year's reed, to which add a large amount of other plant material. The bottom of the nest is covered with its down and soft canes of reeds.
Mute swan spends much time in arranging its home. What feeds this powerful bird? These are mainly fruits, green parts and roots of plants growing in the pond and on its banks. In addition, it is clams, small crustaceans, worms. Sometimes in the summer, birds go to the steppes to feast on cereals.
Mute swans are large birds. The weight of the male can reach 13 kg, the weight of the female is 9 kg The body length is 1.5 m. The wingspan is 1.5 m. Females are slightly smaller than males. The limbs of birds are short. On land, they are difficult to move. They can take off exclusively from the water surface. They are able to touch simultaneously with two paws or to perform movement of the limbs in turn. Shipun is one of the largest individuals among the goose-type. Birds attract with their grace and bright white plumage. They can be found not only in the wild, but also on artificial ponds in private farmsteads, and in the reservoirs of parks:
- swans have a long massive neck, consisting of 32 vertebrae. They always keep it in the form of the letter “S”. Beak tilted to the water. Species of other breeds of swans keep their beak parallel to the surface of the water. Mute swan is depicted on most romantic photos. The male and the female are opposite each other, their heads touch, forming a heart,
- the bird's beak is massive, orange. At the base there is cornified outgrowth. Black beak edging,
- dark are limbs and tarsus. The membranes on the legs are wider than those of other waterfowl,
- tail has long, slightly raised tails. The wings, even at rest, are always directed upwards,
- Swan's back is wide. It can accommodate all offspring. To prevent the chicks from falling into the water, their parents hold them with wings,
- puberty in spines, like in most swans, occurs at 4 years. Birds are always kept in flocks, but during the mating season they find mates for themselves. Married couples are saved for life. If you are going to fly away to warm lands, the birds will gather again in a flock. A livestock can number up to 100 individuals,
- choosing a female, the male begins his mating dance. Он показывает своей избраннице всю прелесть оперения, обвивает её своей шеей,
- после спаривания самка начинает строить гнездо. Оно большое, в диаметре более 1 м. Для гнезда используют ветки наземных растений, стебли водорослей, мох. На дно укладывается пух: его самка выщипывает со своего тела,
- кладка состоит из 3-7 яиц. Скорлупа твёрдая. Коричневого цвета с небольшими тёмными вкраплениями. Яйца созревают 35 дней. Птенцы появляются со светло-коричневым пухом. Their weight is not more than 30 g. Their adult feather grows only by 2 years old,
- hatching eggs is always female. The male brings her food and protects her from the danger
- birds feed on algae, small fish and crustaceans. Sometimes they come ashore for grazing. They eat green succulent grass, which serves as a vitamin supplement for them,
- their life expectancy in the wild is 25 years. At home, they live longer, until the age of 31,
- birds are always on the water. Here they wait out bad weather and precipitation. Swans gather in flocks, clinging closely to each other, hide their heads under the wing. Nestlings are always in the middle of the ring formed by adults.
Mute swans are migratory birds. They spend the cold season in freshwaters near the Black, Caspian and Mediterranean Sea. Some individuals winter in India. During the day, the pack can overcome 1.5 thousand km. In flight, the flock forms the top of the triangle. The stronger individuals are in the front rows, the young are located behind. Adult birds take on the flow of air, dissecting it with their bodies. Young swans will be easier to overcome the airspace. Chicks are ready for flight in 4.5 months.
Mute swans have a meek temper. They protect only the territory where their nests are located. The rest of the pond is common to all waterfowl. They can normally coexist with wild ducks and geese. Human swans are not afraid. They are willing to pose for cameras. Only sensing danger, they begin to pull the neck, hissing and bubbling. It is better not to enter into a fight with a swan on the water. He has powerful flying muscles, strong wings. The male beats the enemy with wings and beak, trying to drown him.
What feed spines?
Swans for their habitat choose small ponds. Often they can get to the bottom with their long neck. They tear algae, catch small fish, take out crustaceans from their nests. To reach the bottom, the bird dives, placing his body vertically. It can collect food at a depth of 1 m. In the wild, 1 individual can eat up to 4 kg of food.
There are situations when not all birds can fly to warm edges. People take them to their compound. The question becomes, what to feed them, what they eat mute swans. At home, their diet is not much different from the feeding table ducks and geese. They are given roots, vegetables, cereal mixture:
If the chicks were left without parents for some reason, or they were bred in the park, in the courtyard, they must be taught to eat. What should the mute swan chicks have to eat, so that they not only have good health, but also develop natural instincts? Being on a reservoir, parents teach their offspring to pluck algae or fish, while expressing water. Most feed to the chicks is not given in liquid form, but in crushed. Feed must swim in the water. The task of the young catch it, take in the beak and decant the excess liquid. For chicks, a slightly different diet is shown:
- for the first 5 days, 250 g of duckweed, 150 g of lettuce leaves, 100 g of cabbage, 40 g of bloodworms are given to the swans. All products are crushed and thrown into the basin with boiled warm water. Separately make mash. It can contain 10 g of boiled eggs, 3 g of milk powder, 30 g of compound feed for ducklings, 30 g of crushed corn, 0.2 g of bone meal. Feeding is carried out 5 times a day. The container with water and food is removed after 30-40 minutes. after feeding, so that the pathological microflora does not develop in it,
- up to 10 days, 500 duckweeds, 250 g of lettuce leaves, 100 g of cabbage, 10 g of carrots, 50 g of bloodworms are thrown into a basin of water. In the mash includes 10 g of boiled eggs, 50 g of the combined feed, 10 g of millet, 30 g of corn. Dry milk is diluted in warm water and added to the feed as a liquid,
- 11–20 days increase the portion of cabbage to 300 grams, lettuce leaves up to 400 grams, carrots up to 25 grams, bloodworms up to 40 grams. The amount of corn decreases to 20 grams. They begin to inject millet 10 grams and fish 5 grams. Compound feeds yield 75 grams, millet 20 g, bone meal 0.4 g. Continue to feed the chicks with egg and powdered milk,
- 21-30 days - bring the number of duckweed to 1 kg. A basin of water is filled with lettuce leaves 600 g, cabbage 400 g, carrots 40 g, moth 40 g. The mixture is made from compound feed 120 g, millet, corn, millet. Grains give 20 g. The number of feedings 3 times a day,
- 31-60 days - duckweed gives 500 g, 15 g of grass meal is added to the feed. For 850 g chicks laid lettuce and cabbage. 60 grams of carrot is added to the salad. The mixture is prepared from 200 g of feed, millet and millet 40 g each. The amount of minced fish is increased to 15 g, bone meal to 1 g. The rest of the feed is fed without change. The amount of filing - 2 times a day.
It is useful to add fermented milk products to the mash. They contain a large amount of lactobacilli, which are necessary for birds to assimilate food. Minerals that are found in whey, yogurt, cottage cheese, contribute to the proper development of the skeleton of the swans and the normal growth of the muscular system.
As already mentioned, the mute swan creates a pair for life. In the mating season, which begins in early spring, birds that have not yet found their partner have been talking. Wanting to conquer the heart of the chosen one, the male swims around her, raising his wings, twisting his head from side to side. If the female responds to the courtship, she takes the same position. During the nesting period, the couple covers an area of about 100 hectares. Having built a nest, the swans mate. This usually occurs in water.
Mute Swan: Red Book
Despite the fact that at present the state of the species does not cause concern, the beautiful bird needs protection. It is necessary to protect it from poachers, to observe periods of silence in water bodies in May and June. At this time, acquire the offspring of the mute swan. The Red Book of Russia, Tatarstan, Belarus, and the Saratov Region has this beauty on its lists.