ab9967's picture

Mute Swan

Observed: 31st December 2011 By: ab9967
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course complete
ab9967’s reputation in Birdsab9967’s reputation in Birds
Mute Swan
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) interacts


chrisbrooks's picture

ID Comment

Hi, it's more then likely a Mute Swan but you cannot really tell from the image.

David Jardine's picture

Tail length

Tail length is a good thing to look at when swans are feeding and in flight. Those of Mute Swans are longer than those of the others.

chrisbrooks's picture


Thanks David

RoyW's picture

Conclusive feature?

Not something that I'd be prepared to use if a certain identification was required!

David Jardine's picture

Try it!

In the north it works well for differentiating between Whoopers and Mutes and has been used by some old hands for many years. It is also worth looking at the tail shape as these differ too - pointed in Mute and straight in Whooopers. The differences are shown well in Madge & Burns - Wildfowl.

It is often a trick used in mystery photos: I'm not sure if British Birds used in the past, but it might be worth checking.

all the best for 2012


RoyW's picture

Will do.

Thanks David.

I don't doubt that this is a feature than can be used effectively, and I am aware that Mute Swans tails are typically longer and more pointed - I think that it's definitely a feature that requires experience before it should be used as more than a 'guide' though (and anything other than Mute Swans are too scarce in my area for me to see them on anything more than on an infrequent basis). ;o)