Bill black; the base and sides, these last to beyond the nostrils, bright yellow: plumage white: tail of twenty feathers.
Anas Cygnus, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. it. p. 828. Whistling Swan, Mont. Orn. Diet, & Supp. Selb. Illust. vol. ii. p. 278. pl. 47. Wild Swan, Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 265. (Trachea,) Linn. Trans, vol. iv. pl. 12. f. 1.
Entire length five feet: length of the bill (to the forehead) four inches four lines and a half, (to the eye) five inches three lines; of the tarsus four inches; of the middle toe six inches six lines; from the carpus to the end of the wing twenty-five inches six lines: breadth, wings extended, seven feet ten inches. Yarr.
The whole plumage pure white, with the exception of the head and nape, which have a faint tinge of orange-yellow: bill black; cere at the base, and a portion of the sides extending beyond the line of the nostrils, lemon-yellow; the same cere passes backward, and forms a yellow space round the eyes: irides brown: legs black. In the female, the bill is of a paler yellow than in the male. In young birds, the whole plumage is pale gray; the cere and naked skin surrounding the eyes, pale flesh-colour; the legs reddish gray. The plumage is probably not perfected till the fourth or fifth year. (Egg). Dull white, faintly tinged with greenish: long. diam. four inches one line; trans, diam. two inches eight lines.
A periodical winter visitant in the northern parts of Britain. Seldom observed southward except in very severe seasons. According to Low, some few pairs remain and breed in the Orkneys; but the greater p2 number retire to the Arctic Regions at the approach of Spring. Builds on the ground near water, and lays from five to seven eggs. Has a loud harsh note. Food, aquatic plants and insects.