A Swan's family - pen, cob and cygnet

If like me, you know what a Swan is (I think everyone knows that), but you don't know what they're called indiviually as male, femal and a baby, well search no further. A male swan is called a cob, female swan is called a pen, and a baby swan is called a cygnet.

Swans are such a common sight that most people around here don't even bother looking at them, let alone taking photos. But not us, we like them a lot! They're just such an amazing bird species and always so so unpredictable as one day you can come within half a meter from them and on other occasions you should run for your life if you come closer to them for more then 20 meters apart!


Well behaved cob - father swan, and to be honest he did turn his head left & right a couple of times but not moved any other muscle, so this was a nice pose for a photoshoot.


A couple of cygnets not doing much and are in close proximity to their father. I've had to hurry up and leave as the closer I got to these two youngsters, the more anxious and loud their father became.

Every lake, river or a reservoir up here in the North West of England is full of birds and dominating species are most surely swans! We have enormous amount of ducks but they do tend to avoid swans as we all know they're well known for their more possible agressivness.

A beautiful sight at the moment is that of cygnets being everywhere, and that means a successful breeding season. Breeding may start in mid-March but most nests don’t get underway until April. Why is that so I don't know, but it might do something with both parents being careful builder of their nest.

A few facts you might or might not know:

  • Nest could partially float on the water and a new one is built every year. I'd think their building skills must be an expert level.
  • There are an average of 8 eggs laid with occasionally being recorded as many as 12 in a single nest.
  • The cob (father) will sit on the nest during the laying period, protecting the eggs while his pen (mom) is away feeding.
  • Icubation period is between 34-36 days before they start hatching, and cygnets begin to emerge over the next 24 hours.
  • Cygnets will remain with their mom in the nest for a couple of days or so before they venture into water.
  • Though they can swim from birth, cygnets may sometimes ride on the backs of their parents or take shelter under their wings. I think that must be the cutest of sights, but I was never lucky enough to spot one.
  • Sadly, on average around a third of all youngsters will die within the first 3 monhts (sorry for this fact, but I thought it is a vital piece of information).
  • Newly hatched cygnets are grey, which soon become brown and then, gradually, begin to turn white, and happy to tell you that I've seen all of their colour changing stages.
  • And one of better facts; swans do tend to stay together for life, which is superb to hear!



Another interesting fact, which I've not payed attention to prior to actually reading some 'near lake' signs is, there are of course more species of swan, namely six of them and are common sight around the globe. At the lake where I took these photos; there are two species, first one being mute swan (Cygnus olor) and the second species being an Australian black swan. Photos of both presented to you throughout this article.


A young mute swan turning white as it is their traditional and most known colour.

Many things have been related with swans in the past and present; world famous the ballet called Swan Lake to being mentioned in Greek mythology.

A swan in the distance or close to us is always a welcoming sight! It makes us happy, makes us feel romantic (some of us more and some less), and to be honest, it's nothing short of being a pleasant spectacle of swans gliding over the surface of a calm lake! I've had moments of running from them as I came a bit to close for comfort, and on the other hand I've had moments of awe in wonder! I do like swans, not only for their beauty but also a bit for their mishevious side!

Thank you for stopping by and take care!