|Irish Name:||Eala bhalbh|
|Scientific name:||Cygnus olor|
Resident at wetlands throughout Ireland.
Large white swan, with an orange-red bill with prominent knob on the forehead, black nostrils and cutting edges.
Despite the name not mute! Adults give a curious snorting or rumbling sound. Juveniles beg with high-pitched whistle. Hisses when alarmed. Does not call in flight, but a loud whisteling sound is produced by the wings.
Water plants, which these large birds can reach with their long necks at depths of up to one metre. Also graze on land and occasionally feed on small amphibians, snails and insects
Clutch: 4-7 eggs (1 brood) Incubation: 34-45 days. Fledging: 120-150 days (precocial). Age of first breeding: 3 years. Breeds on lakes, ponds & rivers, and nests are a large mound constructed from reed stem and other aquatic vegetation, with seaweed being used in coastal locations.
Widespread on lakes, ponds and rivers.
Irish Wetland Bird Survey (I-WeBS).
Common and widespread resident in lowland freshwater lakes.
Largest wintering numbers (250-2,000 birds) found on Loughs Neagh & Beg & Upper Lough Erne in Northern Ireland, and Lough Ennell, the Shannon Callows and River Slaney in winter.
Blog posts about this bird
Cases of Avian Flu Detected in Ireland
BirdWatch Ireland are asking members of the public to report any dead or sick waterbird species they might find, so the birds can be tested for avian flu.
(This Article has been updated on 16/12/2020 in light of Update No. 16 of 2020 from the Department of Agriculture)Avian Influenza has been confirmed in ten wild birds in Ireland so far this winter and a number of others are currently being tested. In addition, cases of avian influenza H5N8 have been identified in a small turkey flock in Co. Wicklow and the necessary precautions and restrictions have been put in place. Although the risk to both human health, or to garden birds, is very low, BirdWatch Ireland is asking the public to keep an eye out for any waterbird species that may be acting strangely or any dead waterbirds, and to report them to the Department of Agriculture via the Avian Flu hotline (call 076 106 4403) so that they can be tested appropriately. There are numerous strains and subtypes of avian flu that each vary in severity. The strain that has recently been detected in some wild birds in Ireland is Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N8, which spreads easily between birds and causes illness, with a high death rate. This strain had been detected in a number of European countries before arriving into Ireland last month. BirdWatch Ireland are part of an early warning system with regard to surveillance for signs of disease in wild birds, together with colleagues in the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NAGC).