There's several species of swan that are found in the UK - mute, whooper, Bewick's and the Australian black swan, but they all are highly sociable and mate for life. The males (called cobs) and the females (pens) look very similar, and will work together to both protect the next and raise their young. The cygnets are born small, grey/brown and very, very cute. Over the following months they will grow in size to match their parents, eventually transforming to white plumage (or black) as they mature, typically by the end of the year.
Wild swans generally can forage for enough food though the summer, but if you want to feed them the RSPB recommends grains such as wheat or corn and fresh greens such as lettuce or spinach, although they can also eat fresh bread in moderation. The food should be thrown onto the water so they are not encouraged to come on to land, which places them at risk from predators and traffic.
RSPB: Mute Swan
The Swan Sanctuary: Swan FAQ
This photograph was submitted to Geograph by Peter Trimming. Peter's photography has been featured in previous wallpaper images and is the author of Belinda: The Forest How Red Squirrel (Amazon link).
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