Ask the Swan Specialist

Cygnet with abnomalities to head, neck and bill; cygnet remains small and does not eat much
Date: 25 June 2009

A Mute Swan cygnet hatched June 11 has several abnormalities that appear to be worsening with the passage of time. We haven’t seen anything like this before, and wonder if you have any idea what the cause might be (we’re wondering if it could be genetic and if future cygnets might also be affected the same way). The cob and pen are both 4 years old and have no evident health issues. The cygnet is active but small for his age and doesn’t seem to eat as much as is usual for other cygnets.

Two close-up pictures taken 2 days ago show the head, neck and bill (the rest of the body doesn’t appear to be involved). The Wildlife Technician and I hoped you might be able to shed some light on this for us, and would appreciate any thoughts you might have.