The Mute Swan is one of the most familiar birds in the UK, its long, curved neck and graceful glide a regular sight on our waterways and waterbodies. Mute Swans feed on plants, particularly waterweed. They usually mate for life, but some will have numerous partners.

A female swan is known as a ‘pen’ and a male is a ‘cob’. Both males and females are involved in parenting; the cob will guard the nest while the pen leaves to feed, but will not incubate the eggs. Both parents are devoted to the cygnets, which, with their downy, brown fluff and short necks, do indeed look like the ‘ugly duckling’ of the rhyme! They soon grow into their adult plumage, however.

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