Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Male swans killing others
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 23 November 2014
In Response To: Male swans killing others (John)

Hi John:

We would recommend that YOU NOT add any more swans to this mix. Something is wrong with the habitat (lack of food or shelter resources), or something else that the male Mute Swan is attacking the other swans.

Australian Black Swans are notorious for being overly aggressive, not always, but usually, and the Mute Swan may have had enough which is why it attacked the Black Swan. If the Mute Swan is killing the cygnets, then there is something wrong with the cygnets. Swans do not just indiscriminately kill their young. In our experience, infanticide was caused by an illness or injury so severe that the young cygnets could not survive.

The parent swans know when something is wrong. In nature, any illness or injury that may cause a predator to be invited to attack the injured or sick animal/bird and follow it to the healthy flock/herd, will cause the affected animal/bird to be chased from the habitat or killed prior to any possible predator attack. If the affected animal/bird can increase the possibility of the healthy flock/herd getting sick, then nature will do everything to ensure that a disease cannot spread. Swan parents will facilitate the removal of disease or possible predator attack by chasing and/or killing an affected cygnet.

So, we would strongly suggest that if any further aggression towards a cygnet occurs with a resulting death, that the carcass be necropsied to determine if the cygnet(s) were sick or injured. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Male swans killing others -- John -- 23 November 2014
Re: Male swans killing others -- The Regal Swan -- 23 November 2014