The mute swan is a large white swan with black legs and an orange bill; the male has a prominent black swelling at the base of the bill; young swans (cygnets) are brown to grey when they hatch, acquiring the adult plumage after about a year. A variant of this species known as the Polish swan is found in some areas where swans were domesticated (for their feather down) and can be recognized by their pinkish legs and often white young. During flight the wing beats of these large birds make a distinctive swooshing sound. In the breeding season (March to May) they tend to build nests on the banks of fresh water sources such as canals, lakes and rivers in rural and urban areas. They use their long necks to feed underwater on water plants, insects and small amphibians. In addition they are often seen on farmland where they feed on grass and seedlings.
There is more information about the Mute swan (Cygnus olor) available on the website of the RSPB.
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