Mute Swans - Hebridean Birds Sightings
Western Isles Birds Photos & Info - Mute Swans - Western Isles Birds.

The mute swans are a winter visitor to The Western Isles and are actually a little more scarce in the summer. Mostly thet are seen on The Uists - occasionally in Lewis

As large as a Whooper Swan the Mute swan and bigger than a Bewick Swan it is a Winter Visitor to the British Isles. The swans come here from their breeding grounds in Iceland and Scandinavia.
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Buzzard -  Western Isles
Photo Gallery  - Whooper Swans
Bird Overview - Mute Swans
Swans, Ducks & Geese
Latin name
Cygnus olor

Winter Visitor on the RSPB Amber list as at 2017

Similar Species
Bewick and Whooper Swans
As large as a Whooper Swan the Mute swan is bigger than a Bewick Swan it is a Winter Visitor to the British Isles. The swans come here tom their breeding grounds in Iceland and Scandinavia.

The mute swan has a long S shaped thin neck, and an orange bill with black at its base (unkike the Whooper which has a yellow bill)

Males are usulaly larger and have a larger knob on their bill. The mute swan is one of the heaviest flying birds seen in the UK. 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.

140 to 160 cm (55 to 63 in)
These swans are creatures of habitat and individual swans will return to the same communal wintering sites year after year. Wetland habitats, mainly shallow lochs and coastal flats where these birds can be seen in The Western Isles, mainly on the Uists - but occasionally on Lewis, usually it is the Whoopers swans with their yellow bills that are seen on Lewis.
The mute swans feed mainly on water plants, insects and snails. Mute Swans take the molluscs that cling to the vegetation, and also eat small fish, frogs and worms.
The Mute swan is less vocal that the Whooper swans who have a deep honking call. THe mute swans make grunts, hoarse whistling, and snorting noises, especially in communicating with their cygnets, and usually hiss at competitors or intruders trying to enter their territory. lThe most usual sound associated with mute swan is a vibrant throbbing of the wings in flight which is unique to the species, and can be heard from a range of 1 to 2 km (0.6 to 1 mi), indicating its value as a contact sound between birds in flight
Mute swans nest on large mounds that they build with waterside vegetation in shallow water on islands in the middle or at the very edge of a lake. They often reuse the same nest each year, and with the same partner, restoring or rebuilding it as needed. Male and female swans share the care of the nest, and once the cygnets are fledged it is often that several families will be seen together.

Mute swans lay from four to ten eggs, and the female broods for around 36 days. The cygnets do not reach the ability of flight before an age of 120 to 150 days

Cygnets grow quickly, reaching a size close to their adult size in approximately three months after hatching. Cygnets typically retain their grey feathers until they are at least one year old, with the down on their wings having been replaced by Flight feathers earlier that year...

Misc. Info

Identification Tips
Whooper - Mute or Bewick?

The Mute swan is as large as the Whooper Swan, the Bewick is smaller. The Mute Swan doesnt hold its neck as upright as the Whooper Swan Does it has an S shapped neck


The mute has a longer bill than that of the bewick swan with more orange on the bill as opposed to the yellow on the whoopers bill

The Bewick Swan has a more round head than that of the Whooper and mute.

Whooper Swan Family - Western Isles
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