Cygnus olor - (Gmelin, 1789)
Mute Swan
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Cygnus olor (Gmelin, 1789) (TSN 174985)
French Common Names: Cygne tuberculé
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.100736
Element Code: ABNJB02040
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Waterfowl
Image 11085

© Jeff Nadler

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Anseriformes Anatidae Cygnus
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Cygnus olor
Taxonomic Comments: See Meng et al. (1990) for information on variability of DNA fingerprints in C. cygnus, C. olor, and C. columbianus.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 07Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 20Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (02Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Arkansas (SNA), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (SNA), Idaho (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Iowa (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Maine (SNA), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (SNA), Michigan (SNA), Minnesota (SNA), Missouri (SNA), Nebraska (SNA), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New York (SNA), North Carolina (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Oklahoma (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), Virginia (SNA), Washington (SNA), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (SNA)
Canada British Columbia (SNA), Ontario (SNA)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Native to Eurasia. Introduced and established in North America, with breeding recorded locally from southern Saskatchewan, Great Lakes region (Michigan), southern New York and Connecticut south to central Missouri and along the Atlantic coast to Virginia; other populations have been recorded in the vicinity of Vancouver Island and in Oregon and Indiana; also in other areas of world. In the U.S., the highest winter densities occur in Michigan and along the eastern seaboard from Delaware to Massachusetts (Root 1988).

Population Size Comments: Total population in the Atlantic Flyway in the mid-1990s was over 10,000 (Allin and Husband).

Short-term Trend Comments: Populations on the U.S. east coast are growing (Allin et al. 1987). Population at Long Point, Ontario, on Lake Erie has been expanding rapidly since it became established in the 1970s (Knapton 1993).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Native to Eurasia. Introduced and established in North America, with breeding recorded locally from southern Saskatchewan, Great Lakes region (Michigan), southern New York and Connecticut south to central Missouri and along the Atlantic coast to Virginia; other populations have been recorded in the vicinity of Vancouver Island and in Oregon and Indiana; also in other areas of world. In the U.S., the highest winter densities occur in Michigan and along the eastern seaboard from Delaware to Massachusetts (Root 1988).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ARexotic, CTexotic, DEexotic, IAexotic, IDexotic, ILexotic, INexotic, KYexotic, MAexotic, MDexotic, MEexotic, MIexotic, MNexotic, MOexotic, NCexotic, NEexotic, NHexotic, NJexotic, NYexotic, OHexotic, OK, PAexotic, RIexotic, VAexotic, WAexotic, WIexotic, WVexotic
Canada BCexotic, ONexotic

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: WILDSPACETM 2002

Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Clutch size averages 4-6. Incubation lasts 34-38 days, mainly or entirely by female. Young are tended by both parents, independent at about 4 months.
Ecology Comments: Introduced swans in southern New England occupy and defend territories against conspecific individuals year-round, except when mid-winter ice prevents occupancy. Some swans defend their territories also against waterfowl of other species, though interference with the nesting of other species has not been documented. As of the early 1990s, no impact of swans on aquatic vegetation was evident (Conover and Kania 1994).
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: In North America, makes short local migrations or does not migrate.
Estuarine Habitat(s): Bay/sound, Herbaceous wetland, Lagoon, River mouth/tidal river, Tidal flat/shore
Riverine Habitat(s): BIG RIVER, Low gradient
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian
Habitat Comments: Open and quiet waters of lakes, ponds, marshes, and sluggish rivers, also in brackish and protected marine situations in winter (AOU 1983). Nests usually at water's edge on land or small islands, or in reed beds in shallow water, primarily in freshwater areas.
Adult Food Habits: Herbivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Eats mainly aquatic plants pulled up from bottom in shallow water.
Length: 152 centimeters
Weight: 11800 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Species Impacts: Populations on the U.S. east coast are growing; regarded as Regarded as a pest and threat to native waterfowl in the northeastern U.S. (Allin et al. 1987).
Management Requirements: "Egg shaking" has been used to reduce reproductive success in the northeastern U.S. where the species is regarded as a pest and threat to native waterfowl; however, negative public response has limited or eliminated the use of this technique in some areas. Rhode Island population has continued to grow despite an intensive egg-shaking program.

See Allin et al. (1987) for information on management needs in the Atlantic Flyway.

Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Swans and Geese

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Nest Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding , or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Mapping Guidance: Map Foraging Areas in separate polygons from the nest site if they are separated from the nest by areas simply flown over on commuting routes.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Breeding occurrences include nesting areas and foraging areas used during the nesting season, but the separation distance is based on nesting-area polygons. Thus different occurrences may overlap if birds from different nesting areas travel to the same foraging area during the nesting season. The separation distance is arbitrary but is intended to yield occurrences that are not impracticably large for conservation purposes.

Canada Geese usually forage near nest site, but adults will forage up to 8 kilometers away (Williams and Sooter 1941, Hammond and Mann 1956) and young will occasionally travel up to 16 kilometers to a foraging area as well (Palmer 1976). Mean home ranges of brood-rearing Snow Geese ranged from 6.6 to 21.7 square kilometers on Bylot Island (Hughes et al. 1994).

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 3 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Based on the conservative, smaller mean home range for Snow Geese of 6.6 square kilometers (Hughes et al. 1994).
Date: 26Apr2004
Author: Cannings, S. and G. Hammerson
Notes: Contains all species of swans and geese, as well as whistling-ducks.

Use Class: Migratory stopover
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Some swans - Cygnus buccinator, in particular - have known migratory routes and staging areas. For these, evidence of past or present recurring presence of migrating or staging flocks and potential recurring presence at a given location. Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season and habitat; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance arbitrary, set to yield occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes.
Date: 07Aug2017
Author: Ormes, M.
Notes: Created at request of NE; needs review by zoologist.

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Foraging area, Roosting site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of past or present recurring presence of flocks of nonbreeding birds, including nonbreeding birds within the breeding season and breeding individuals outside the breeding season, and potential recurring presence at a given location. Normally only areas where concentrations greater than 50 birds occur regularly for at least 20 days per year would be deemed EOs.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance arbitrary, set to yield occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations. Swans and geese can travel considerable distances on a daily basis; in winter, flocks of Canada Geese foraged up to 48 km from roost in Texas (Glazener 1946).
Date: 26Apr2004
Author: Cannings, S., and G. Hammerson
Notes: Contains all species of swans and geese, as well as whistling-ducks.

Use Class: Wintering site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Overlaps with Nonbreeding LUC, but some swans - Cygnus buccinator in particular - have distinct wintering and staging areas. For these, evidence of past or present recurring presence of flocks of nonbreeding birds, and potential recurring presence at a given location. Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season and habitat; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Date: 07Aug2017
Author: Ormes, M.
Notes: Created at request of NE; needs review by zoologist.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 14Feb1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): HAMMERSON, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Allin, C. C., G. C. Chasko, and T. P. Husband. 1987. Mute swans in the Atlantic Flyway: a review of the history, population growth and management needs. Trans. Northeast. Sect. Wildl. Soc. 44:32-47.

  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1983. Check-list of North American Birds, 6th edition. Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas. 877 pp.

  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.

  • Birkhead, M., and C. Perrins. 1986. The mute swan. Croom Helm, London. xiv + 157 pp.

  • Bull, John. 1974. Birds of New York State. Doubleday, Garden City, New York. 655 pp.

  • Cadman, M. D., P. F. J. Eagles, and F. M. Helleiner. 1987. The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Ontario. University of Waterloo Press, Waterloo, Canada. 617pp.

  • Campbell, R. W., N. K. Dawe, I. McTaggart-Cowan, J. M. Cooper, G. W. Kaiser, and M. C. E. McNall. 1990a. The Birds of British Columbia. Volume 1. Nonpasserines: Introduction and loons through waterfowl. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, BC, Canada. 514 pp.

  • Campbell, R.W., N.K. Dawe, I.McT. Cowan, J.M. Cooper, G. Kaiser, and M.C.E. McNall. 1990. The Birds of British Columbia, Vol. 1. Nonpasserines: Introduction, Loons through Waterfowl. Royal B.C. Mus. in association with Environ. Can., Can. Wildl. Serv. 514pp.

  • Cannings, R.A., R.J. Cannings, and S.G. Cannings. 1987. Birds of the Okanagan Valley, B.C. Royal B.C. Mus., Victoria, BC. 420pp.

  • Ciaranca, Michael A., Charles C. Allin, and Gwilym S. Jones. 1997. Mute Swan; The Birds of North America. Vol. 7, No. 273. American Orinithologists' Union. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.

  • Conover, M. R., and G. S. Kania. 1994. Impact of interspecific aggression and herbivory by mute swans on native waterfowl and aquatic vegetation in New England. Auk 111:744-748.

  • Davies, R.G. 1981. Abundance and distribution of Mute Swans on Vancouver Island, BC. British Columbia Fish and Wildlife Br. Unpubl. Rep., Victoria. 7 pp.

  • Drennan, Susan R. 1986. 86th Christmas bird count. American Birds 40(4):575-1117.

  • Dunn, Joel. 2000-10-16. Electronic mail correspondence to Rick Dutko, Senior Nongame Zoologist, NJNHP regarding State rank change for the mute swan (Cygnus olor).

  • Gauthier, J., and Y. Aubry (editors). 1996. The breeding birds of Quebec. Atlas of the breeding birds of southern Quebec. Association quebecoise des groupes d'ornithologues, Province of Quebec Society for the Protection of Birds, Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, Quebec Region, Montreal, 1302 pp.

  • Glazener, W. C. 1946. Food habits of wild geese on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Journal of Wildlife Management 10:322-329.

  • Godfrey, W. E. 1986. The birds of Canada. Revised edition. National Museum of Natural Sciences, Ottawa. 596 pp. + plates.

  • Hammond, M. C., and G. E. Mann. 1956. Waterfowl nesting islands. Journal of Wildlife Management 20:345-352.

  • Harrison, C. 1978. A Field Guide to the Nests, Eggs and Nestlings of North American Birds. Collins, Cleveland, Ohio.

  • Hughes, R. J., A. Reed, and G. Gauthier. 1994. Space and habitat use by Greater Snoow Goose broods on Bylot Island, Northwest Territories. Journal of Wildlife Management 58:536-545.

  • James, R.D. 1991. Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Ontario (2nd ed., rev.). Life Sciences Miscellaneous Publications, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. 128 pp.

  • Knapton, R. W. 1993. Population status and reproductive biology of the mute swan, CYGNUS OLOR, at Long Point, Lake Erie, Ontario. Can. Field-Nat. 107:354-356.

  • Kortright, F.H. 1967. The ducks, geese, and swans of North America. The Stackpole Company, Harrisburg, PA, and Wildlife Management Institute, Washington, D.C. 476 pp.

  • Meng, A., R. E. Carter, and D. T. Parkin. 1990. The variability of DNA fingerprints in three species of swan. Heredity 64:73-80.

  • Mills, Charles E. 1991. The Birds of a Southern Indiana Coal Mine Reclamation Project. 69 Ind. Aud. Q. 65-79.

  • New York State Breeding Bird Atlas. 1984. Preliminary species distribution maps, 1980-1984. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Wildlife Resources Center. Delmar, NY.

  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Checklist of the amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals of New York State, including their protective status. Nongame Unit, Wildlife Resources Center, Delmar, NY.

  • Palmer, R. S., editor. 1976. Handbook of North American birds. Vol. 2. Waterfowl (first part). Whistling ducks, swans, geese, sheld-ducks, dabbling ducks. Yale Univ. Press, New Haven. 521 pp.

  • Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas Project. 1984-1987. UNPUBLISHED

  • Root, T. 1988. Atlas of wintering North American birds: An analysis of Christmas Bird Count data. University of Chicago Press. 336 pp.

  • Terres, J. K. 1980. The Audubon Society encyclopedia of North American birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

  • Warren, W.H. 1970. Mute Swans in Victoria. Victoria Naturalist 27:11.

  • Williams, C. S., and C. A. Sooter. 1941. Canada Goose habitats in Utah and Oregon. Transactions of the North American Wildlife Conference 5:383-387.

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