The Mute Swan is an
introduced species, brought from Europe as an "ornamental"
species. Escaped birds have established wild populations in
scattered locations across North America. Populations are generally
increasing, with locally dense populations in the East causing concern about
competition with native waterfowl. The South
Dakota Ornithologist's Union lists the Mute Swan as
"hypothetical" in their 1991 book "The Birds of South
Dakota". A free flying bird observed in 1988 may have been a tame
bird that had escaped.
Habitat: Wide variety of aquatic
habitats, including ponds, lakes, marshes, sloughs, and parks. Even wild
populations are often found in close association with human settlements, but
some are established in remote locations.
Diet: Mostly the seeds, leaves, and roots of aquatic
plants. Will also feed on waste grain, grasses and sedges, insects,
mollusks, and small fish.
Behavior: Feeds in the water by swimming on the
surface, dabbling for food items on the surface, or reaching its head under
water. Will also forage on land.
Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota
Song: Generally silent, but does have a variety of
grunts and hisses.
Migration: Status unknown in the state, but northern populations
generally do move south in the fall.
Status: North American populations continue to
expand in number and range, competing with native waterfowl for resources in
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Mute Swan"
eNature.com: Mute Swan
Photo Information: May 9th, 2004 -- Arrowhead Park
east of Sioux Falls -- Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Mute Swan photos.