Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Being one of the heaviest birds able to fly, the Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) strikes by its strength and power, but also by its incredible grace and obvious majesty. With a wingspan up to 240cm (!!), a Mute Swan in flight can be heard from far away.
Adult males are usually bigger than females. They also have a bigger knob on their bill as it swells during the breeding season. They look identical otherwise.
Chicks are all grey and juveniles progressively change their plumage to immaculate white, bringing beautiful nuances of grey, brown and white in their feathers.
One of the most fantastic wildlife experiences is simply to watch Mute Swans parading. While
slowly circling each other, the male and female alternately dunk their heads in the water, blow bubbles and move their heads side to side in a synchronous pattern... forming long-lasting pair bonds. Even though a change of mate can occur infrequently, Mute Swans are reported to mate for life.
It is personally one of my favorite birds in the world. Watching them and photographing them never gets old.