Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Swan baby is white, does not seem to have wings
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 5 July 2017

Hi Nadine:

Mute Swans are known scientifically as Mute Swans (Cygnus olor). However, based upon their coloration, swan keepers will designate them as Royal Mutes or Polish Mutes.

Royal Mute Swans have the "normal" coloration of reddish orange bills, black feet and legs with their cygnets (baby swans) being taupe in color with black legs and black feet. Royal Mute cygnets' feathers will turn white at approximately 6-8 months of age with full coloration occurring at 1 year of age. Bills will turn reddish orange at approximately 1 year of age.

Polish Mute Swans have orange bills with taupe colored feet and legs and their cygnets are white in color at hatching with taupe colored legs and feet. Because the Polish Mute cygnets are white in color at hatching, the bills will be the only body part that will change in color (orange) at one year of age.

Polish Mute Swans were produced centuries ago in Eastern Europe when someone wanted to produce a "white swan" or albino. This did not occur, because the Polish Mute Swans known as the "white swan" was not an albino because it has some coloration. True albinism produces no color because there are no color pigments.

The Polish Mute Swans were at first thought to be a new species, however, they were determined not to be a new species, but a "leucistic" version (or a coloration produced by a genetic anamoly). This "genetic" coloration sometimes appears in Mute Swans throughout their breeding lives. It is possible that a swan pair will never have Polish Mute cygnets and in others, a swan pair will have Polish Mutes at sometime during their breeding lives.

From your description, the second swan couple have produced a Polish Mute cygnet and may be younger than the older cygnets from the other swan pair which may be the reason that it appears not to have full wings (flight feathers yet). Give it a few more months and it should fill out like the older cygnets. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Swan baby is white, does not seem to have wings -- Nadine -- 4 July 2017
Re: Swan baby is white, does not seem to have wings -- The Regal Swan -- 5 July 2017