Bill red; the edges of the mandibles, nail, and a protuberance at the base, black: plumage white: tail of twenty-four feathers.
C. Olor, Steph. in Shaw's Gen. Zool. vol. xii. part ii. p. 15. pl. 38. Anas Olor, Temm. Man. d'Orn. tom.ii. p. 830. Mute Swan, Lewin, Brit. Birds, vol. vii. pl. 237. Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 270.
Entire length five feet or upwards.
The whole plumage, without exception, pure white: bill red; the edges of the mandibles, nail at the tip, nostrils, and a large protuberance on the forehead, as well as the space round the eyes, deep black: irides brown: legs black; sometimes tinged with reddish. The female is smaller, with the frontal protuberance not so much developed. The young of the year are ash-brown, with the bill and legs dusky gray. In the second year the bill assumes a yellowish tint, and white feathers appear intermixed with the gray ones. In the third year, the plumage is perfected. (Egg,) Dull greenish white: long. diam. four inches', trans, diam. two inches nine lines.
Well known in a domesticated or half-reclaimed state on many of our rivers and artificial pieces of water. Found wild in the eastern parts of Europe. Makes a nest amongst aquatic herbage in February or March, and lays from six to eight eggs. Food, aquatic vegetables and insects; occasionally small fish. Is destitute of the shrill voice which distinguishes the two preceding species.
* According to Mr Thompson there are twenty tail-feathers. See Lond. & Edinb. Phil. Mag. Oct. 1834. p. 299.