‘Polish Swan’

A colour form of the Mute Swan. The chick hatches with completely white feathers instead of the usual grey of young birds. In addition to the white plumage they also have pale bills and pale pink legs which remain throughout the birds life.

This form was first noted in Staffordshire in 1686. In 1838, they were thought to be a different species and were name Cygnus immutabilis, (unchanging swan) by Yarrell, because they remained white.

Today they are know as ‘Polish Swan’ because this is the name London poulters gave them as they imported them from the Baltic, (although they are no commoner in Poland as they are in Britain), but in some Eastern European countries they can make up 20% of the population.

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On the Camel Estuary, there has been one other occurrence of a chick which perished soon after hatching in 1991 at Wadebridge.

Birkhead and Perrins; The Mute Swan 1986. ISBN 0-7099-3259-6
© Camelbirder 2013

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