What’s a Baby Swan Called + 4 More Amazing Facts!

Written by Sadie Dunlap
Published: December 30, 2021
Image Credit iStock.com/yanjf
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Are you curious what a baby swan is called? Did you know they are extremely large babies? Swans are known to be beautiful and quite graceful creatures but there are many other facts about them that you may not know. 

Let’s dive right in and discover five amazing facts about baby swans!

#1: A Baby Swan is Called a Cygnet!

baby swan closeup
Young swans are called cygnets.

iStock.com/Freila

When swans are born they’re called cygnets, which is pronounced sig-net. Cygnets keep their name until they’re a year old at which time they have two options for names. An adult male swan is called a cob and an adult female swan is called a pen. 

While there is no specific term for a group of baby swans, a group of swans is called a flock.

#2: Baby Swans Have Dedicated Parents

baby swans taking a ride
Swan parents are very involved in the lives of their babies.

iStock.com/Lemanieh

While it’s no secret that swans mate for life, there are a few common misconceptions about them. For example, if one swan in the relationship passes away, the remaining swan will usually find another mate. The same is true if a pair of swans have been unsuccessful in making babies. It’s often thought that they will remain alone if these things occur but that’s usually not true. 

Mating isn’t the only thing that swans work together on for the sake of their babies. The female swan incubates the eggs while the male swan swims outside to protect the new mother and her unhatched babies. 

At about a year old, the cygnets will be alone in the nest and be responsible for joining a new flock. Most swans stay with the flock they’ve chosen for their whole lives.

#3: Swans Can Swim Hours After Hatching

father and baby swan
Swan cygnets take their first swim just hours after birth.

iStock.com/Stanislav Sablin

After a swan hatches, it wastes no time getting out on the water. It might be hard to believe that such a freshly born baby can already learn how to swim, but it’s true! At just a few hours old, swan cygnets are strong enough and have the instincts needed to start swimming.

The cygnet’s first trip to the water is mostly a test run, supervised by the mother swan. However, sometimes, swan cygnets get their first taste of small bugs and other snacks at the water’s edge. These are all vital skills that the tiny birds need to learn so that they can survive on their own in the wild.

#4: Baby Swans are Large Babies

baby swan portrait
Swans have larger babies than ducks.

iStock.com/yanjf

There’s no doubt that baby ducks and swans have many similarities. However, when it comes to their size at birth, they couldn’t be more different. 

When a newborn duck hatches, it only weighs about 50 grams. On the other hand, when a swan cygnet hatches, it weighs a staggering 200 to 250 grams! Ducks weigh about 2 to 3 kilograms as adults, while swans weigh around 14 kilograms! 

By far the largest swan baby is the baby Trumpeter Swan. Not only are they quite large in comparison to other birds, but Trumpeter Swans are also the among the largest flying birds. It’s no wonder, considering that their wingspan can reach up to eight feet.

#5: Swan Cygnets Imprint

group of baby swan cygnets
Swan cygnets imprint on the first thing they see, whether that be their mother or an airplane!

iStock.com/Dmitry Potashkin

Imprinting is when the babies program themselves to listen to their mother’s every word and follow her around endlessly. For a baby swan, this means that the first large moving things these babies come into contact with will be the thing the cygnets follow for the first 6 months of life. This is why they are often seen following their mother around and depending on her for everything.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are baby swans called?

A baby swan is called a cygnet. Adult male swans are called cobs and adult females are called pens. Swan babies are only considered cygnets until they’re a year old. There’s not a specific name for a group of swan babies however, a group of adults is called a flock. The mother swan cares for the eggs and babies while the dad protects them. 

How much do baby swans weigh?

When they hatch, the cygnets weigh around 200 to 250 grams which are quite heavy for a flying bird! By the time they’re six months old they’ll pack on thousands of grams, weighing around 7000 grams, or 7 kilograms. As full-grown adults from 2 to 4 years old, they can reach anywhere from 13 to 15 kilograms. 

What do baby swans eat?

Newborn baby swans don’t have to eat for a few days since they absorb any leftover yolk from inside the egg before hatching. Cygnets mostly survive on pond vegetation and small bugs that get trapped in the water. Adult swans eat algae, tadpoles, bugs, and other things they find in the shallow parts of the waters. Swans are scavengers, not hunters.

Where do baby swans live?

Baby swans are born in nests that their mother builds with the help of the father. The nest is built out of sticks, dry grass, and other vegetation. Oftentimes the mother will build the nest close to the water’s edge to have easy access to it. These nests are located on rivers and lakes alike. The cygnets will live here with their parents for about a year while they pick up all necessary life skills from mom and dad in this time. There are no swans in Antarctica. 

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