|Mute Swan with cygnets|
|† see also: Goose, Duck|
Swans are large water birds of the Anatidae family, which also includes ducks and geese. Sometimes swans are lumped with geese in the subfamily Anserinae.
Swans mate for life; the number of eggs in each clutch varies both within and among swan species.
Young swans are known as cygnets, from the Latin word for swan, cygnus.
Most species of swan are white, but Australia is home to a species known as the Black Swan (Cygnus atratus), which is black with a red beak and white patches under its wings. The black swan is the official state emblem of Western Australia.
The following are examples:
Flock of tundra swans migrating near Alma, WI, USA
For further taxonomic comments, see also Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy.
Once swans were considered a edible form of poultry. Nowadays they are protected species in many countries. In Britain, for example, all swans are protected by law.