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Join date : 1970-01-01

PostSubject: Swans and Ducks   Mon May 13, 2013 3:35 pm

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Facts and figures

Members of the family Anatidae of the order Anseriformes
Natural Habitat - lakes, ponds, slow-flowing rivers, canals and estuaries
Natural Diet -

Swans - water plants and vegetation, insects, frogs, worms, snails and small fish

Ducks - shellfish, small crustaceans, insects, snails, grains, seeds and grasses, frogs and water plants.

Supplementary Foods: Wild Things Swan and Duck Food

A bit of background

Swans and Ducks are members of the family Anatidae. They are unusual among birds as they moult all their flight feathers at once, leaving them unable to fly until the new feathers grow through; most birds only lose one or two feathers at a time and can still fly during the moulting period.

Geese are also members of the family Anatidae, and share the same distinctive V-shaped flight pattern. This is most noticeable in geese and swans but can also be seen to a lesser degree in ducks.


Males are called cobs, females pens and the young cygnets.

There are five species seen wild in this country – Black, Mute, Trumpeter, Whistling or Bewick and Whooper - and they are found mainly on freshwater lakes, slow-moving rivers and canals and river estuaries; swans are able to drink the salt water found here by filtering out the salt.

Bewicks, Trumpeters and Whoopers are migratory; the Mute swan is probably the most commonly seen in Britain and is quite distinctive with its bright orange beak.

Swans are amongst the largest birds, Mute swan males are about 10.5kg and the females about 9kg. Swans have few natural predators in this country though foxes may take cygnets; pollution, discarded fishing lines and hooks and overhead power lines are some of the major hazards facing swans.


Swans can breed at two years old but are normally three or four before they produce their first clutch.

They mate for life though should one of them die, they may find a new mate.

Swans are very territorial during the breeding season (April to May) and are at their most aggressive at this time. They nest next to water, usually returning to the same site each year; Trumpeter swans may build a floating nest. Swans, their nests and eggs are protected by law and it is illegal to interfere with them.

Up to ten eggs are laid at 12-24 hour intervals and take 35-41 days to hatch, hatching out within 24 hours of each other. The eggs are mainly incubated by the female though the male will do so for short periods to allow the female to feed and, should the female die, will take over incubation. The female will take the cygnets to water at one day old and they will spend most of their growing period in water to allow their legs to grow strong enough to support their bodyweight.

The cygnets will start to fly at four to five months old and will lose their distinctive grey plumage in their first spring.

Although swans will normally lay only one clutch a year, they may produce a second clutch should the first one be lost, or if they lose all their cygnets very young.


Swans naturally eat water plants and vegetation, insects, frogs, worms, snails and small fish. They have been known to eat potatoes left in the fields after harvest. Although they will happily eat bread and, in small quantities, it is unlikely to do much harm, it provides very little nourishment and will fill them up thus preventing them from seeking out more suitable food. Large quantities of bread have been linked to possible malnutrition and it is better to feed a suitable food such as Wildthings Swan & Duck food.


Males are known as drakes, females as ducks and the young as ducklings.

There are many species of ducks with a wide variation in size with the males usually slightly larger and more colourful than the females.

They have very dense, waterproof top feathers with warm down underneath and webbed feet which make them very good swimmers. Some species are migratory between their breeding grounds and winter feeding grounds. The Mallard is probably the commonest duck in this country and was first domesticated in China over 2000 years ago.

Muscovy ducks are unusual in being able to roost in trees and are one of the best fliers. They do not spend as much time in water as most ducks as their oil glands, which help to keep the feathers waterproof, are not as well developed as in other ducks.


Ducks pair bond for one season, if at all, and build their nests on land, sometimes quite some distance from water. They lay 10-14 eggs, which are incubated by the mother and take 24-28 days to hatch; though laid on different days they will all hatch on the same day. The ducklings are taken straight to water after hatching by the mother and can swim immediately; they can fly at about 2 months old.


Most ducks eat a wide variety of foods including shellfish, small crustaceans, insects, snails, grains, seeds and grasses, small frogs and water plants. As with swans, they will readily eat bread but, again, it does not give them much of nutritional value and, because they are full, discourages them from finding better, more nourishing, food. Feeding a more suitable food, such as Wildthings Swan & Duck food, will provide them with a better source of nutrition.
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Location : Glitter Way!
Join date : 2012-02-18
Posts : 22983
Age : 21

PostSubject: Re: Swans and Ducks   Mon May 13, 2013 3:45 pm

love ducks, swans are scary but very beautiful xx

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