Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Brown swans?
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 1 October 2015
In Response To: Brown swans? (Helen)

Hi Helen

Usually, most swan species are either black or white. However, you might be observing the cygnets from this year. Swan species are white or black in color as adults, but are usually taupe gray/brown until their feathers turn white or black at 8-10 months of age. Then, until they are 1 year of age, there still may be a small amount of brown left. At 6-8 months of age, the feathers begin turning, but the process begins under the wings and then spreads throughout the body.

In the Mute swan species, there is a leucistic (genetic) coloration that causes the young to hatch white and remain white throughout their lives. These swans are still Mute Swans, but are considered Polish Mutes. There is no scientific name for the swans other than Mutes, but swan keepers call them Polish Mutes for this unique coloration. This genetic anomaly was produced centuries ago, when Eastern European swan keepers tried to produce a white or albino swan. Some Mutes have passed this gene to current flocks and it still shows up now and then, especially if both swan parents have the gene.

In Australian Black Swans, this leucistic attribute causes the young swans to hatch with a silvery pearl gray/taupe color which stays with the birds the rest of their lives. These nirds are known as the Mearl Swans, but are still considered Black Swans as a species. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Brown swans? -- Helen -- 1 October 2015
Re: Brown swans? -- The Regal Swan -- 1 October 2015