1577. Cygnus olor.
The Mute Swan.
Anas olor, Gmel. Syst. Nat. i, 2, p. 501 (1788). Cygnus olor, Vieill. Nouv. Dict. a Hist. Nat. ix, p. 37 ; Blanf. S. F. vii, p. 99 ; id. P. A. S. B. 1878, p. 138; Hume, S. F. vii, p. 101 ; id. Cat. no. 944 ter; Hume & Marsh. Game B. iii, p. 41, pl.; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 394; Salvadori, Cat. B. M. xxvii, p. 35; Baker, Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. xi, p. 16. Cygnus unwini, Hume, Ibis, 1871, p. 413. ? Cygnus sp., Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xli, pt, 2, p. 229 ; Hume, S. F. iv, p. 33. A knob at the base of the bill; the trachea does not enter the keel of the sternum.
Coloration. Adults pure white throughout. Young birds are brownish grey, becoming whiter with age; but the brownish tinge is not entirely lost till the bird is about two years old.
Bill orange-red, except the commissure of both mandibles and a considerable part of the lower near .the base, the nail at the end of the bill, a patch around each nostril, the knob at the base, and the lores, which are black; irides brown ; legs and feet black. In young birds the bill is lead-coloured, then flesh-coloured.
Length about 60; tail 9; wing 22; tarsus 3.9; bill from gape 3.8. Females are rather smaller than males. In European (tame?) birds the wing measures as much as 27 inches.
Distribution. The greater part of Europe, Northern and Central Asia. The Mute Swan is an occasional visitor to the Northwestern Punjab, near Peshawar; it has once been killed in Sind, near Sehwan, where three were shot in February by the late Mr. H. E. Watson out of a flock of five ; and Stoliczka thought he saw some on the Runn of Cutch. Nearly all the Swans recorded have been found in India in January and February; but on two occasions birds of this species were shot near Peshawar in June and July.
Habits, &c. Swans, as a rule, occur in small flocks and haunt marshes, lakes, and rivers ; but they occasionally alight on the sea near the coast. They but rarely come on land, and are seldom seen on the wing. Their flight is heavy and noisy. They feed chiefly on aquatic plants, partly on insects and their larvae, mollusca, &c. They make a large nest close to the water, and lay from 5 to 11 white, or nearly white, eggs, measuring about 4 1/2 by 3.