Bible Birds – Swan Introduction

Bible Birds – Swan Introduction

Swan (Cygnus olor)II at Bok Tower By Dan'sPix

Swan (Cygnus olor)II at Bok Tower By Dan’sPix

“And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,” (Leviticus 11:18 KJV)

“The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,” (Deuteronomy 14:16 KJV)

Swans are mentioned in these two verses in the KJV Bible. Some other versions list it as another bird. For now, let us learn about the beautiful Swans that the Lord created.

Both of the Swan verses above are found in the “do not eat” list that the Lord gave to the “children of the LORD your God.” Who would want to eat such great looking birds?

Swans are in the Anatidae Family which includes Ducks, Geese and Swans. There are seven species which include these:

Coscoroba Swan (Coscoroba coscoroba)
Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)
Black-necked Swan (Cygnus melancoryphus)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)
Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus)
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)

Some Interesting Facts:

  • The Trumpeter Swan has the most contour feathers of any bird. (25,216) That doesn’t count the downy feathers.
  • Swans can fly as fast as 60 miles per hour!
  • A male swan is called a cob, and a female swan is called a pen.
  • A baby swan is called a cygnet.
  • The largest species, including the mute swan, trumpeter swan, and whooper swan, can reach length of over 1.5 m (60 inches) and weigh over 15 kg (33 pounds). Their wingspans can be almost 3 m (10 ft).


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Bible Birds – Swan

Birds of the Bible – Swan

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Black Swan

Anatidae – Ducks, Geese and Swans Family

Wordless Birds



Child’s Book of Water Birds ~ The Swan

The Swan

Child's Book of Water Birds - Book Cover

Child’s Book of Water Birds – Book Cover


Childs Bk of Water Birds titlebird





Welcome to the Updated Child’s Book of Water Birds, by Anonymous. It was written in 1855 and this is 2013. That is 158 years ago.

Childs Bk of Water Birds swan


The Swan is a very beautiful bird. It is generally white, though a black swan has been discovered in Australia. It is not very often seen in this country. It was brought from Asia and Eastern Europe into England—from whence, most probably, a few specimens have been introduced into this country. The Swan is very graceful in the water, but on land it is an awkward waddler.


Swan at Bok Tower

Swan at Bok Tower


Swans are the largest member of the Water Birds family Swans. They are also among the largest flying birds. Some Swans have a wingspan almost 10 ft (3 m).

A group of swans is called a bevy or a wedge in flight. Swans feed in the water and on land.

The nest is on the ground near water. Average egg size (for the mute swan) is 4.4 X 2.9 in (113×74 mm), weighing 11 oz (340 g), in a clutch size of 4 to 7. Swans are very protective of their nest.

The Swan is one of the Bible Birds. (See Bible Birds – Swans)

And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, (Leviticus 11:18 KJV)


See the other five Child’s Book of Water Birds:

The Coot

The Dabchick

The Teal

The Goose

The Oyster Catcher


Anatidae – Swan Family

Bible Birds – Swans

Bible Birds

Wordless Birds



Child's Book of Water Birds - Levit and Allen


Birds of the Bible – Swans II

And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, (Leviticus 11:18 KJV)

Coscoroba Swan (Coscoroba coscoroba) ©Wikipedia

Coscoroba Swan (Coscoroba coscoroba) ©Wikipedia

Swans have been written about before with Birds of the Bible – Swan I and Swan Loyalty. Because of the Lord’s amazing creation of the birds, there is always more to find out about them. In the first Swan blog it was mentioned that there are 6 Swans in the Anatidae family. Well, that is incorrect. There are 6 swans in the Cygnus genera (division of a family), but there is another genera called Coscoroba. This genera has only one swan, the Coscoroba Swan. So, there are 7 Swans.

The Coscoroba has the ones who study birds (taxonomist and others) in a quandary. They are not sure if it is a swan, duck or goose. “Externally, the body, head and legs appear to be more like a goose than a swan. As an example, their body is much smaller in comparison to other species of swans; the largest species average double the weight and have a wingspan at least 40% larger. Since they are smaller in size compared to other swan species, coscoroba swans require shorter distance to lift off from the ground or water. In contrast to other species of swan, coscoroba swans have a shorter neck and longer legs. Another feature that distinguishes coscoroba swans from other species is that feathers cover their facial skin, instead of bare skin extending from the bill to the eye. This species also lacks the characteristic basal knob found on all other five species of swans. Compared to other swans, the bill of a coscoroba swan is smaller and more resembles the bill of a duck.” (Animal Facts, Woodland Park Zoo)

They went on to say that it sounds more like a goose, doesn’t carry young on back like swans and that their young look more like young whistling ducks. Considering that the Anatidae family consists Ducks, Geese, and Swans, sounds like they are all in the same “created kind” for sure. They have been doing as they were command by God to:

And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth. (Genesis 1:22 NKJV)

Coscoroba Swan (Coscoroba coscoroba) ©Arthur Grosset

Coscoroba Swan (Coscoroba coscoroba) ©Arthur Grosset

The Coscoroba Swan lives mainly in the southern part of South America and prefers shallow areas of lagoons, swamps, ponds, or areas with lots of vegetation. They are between 34.6-45.2 inches and males can be as much as 11.9 pounds and the female 10 pounds. “Inside the bill, there are serrated comb-like structures called lamellae, which help filter food. When eating, swans scoop up water and food, hold it in their mouth and squeeze out the water through the lamellae.”

They are all white except for the 6 black feathers at the tips of their wings. Speaking of flying, here are some interesting facts. (When migrating, the flock maintains visual contact as much as possible and will call out to each other to stay united during inclement weather or poor lighting conditions. During migrations, coscoroba swans may fly with flamingos or black-necked swans (C. melanocoryopha). Migration routes may take place at extreme elevations; researchers have noted swans flying at elevations of 26,277 feet (8,000 m). These high altitudes allow the birds to take advantage of stronger air currents. Additionally, swans almost always fly in a V-formation to save energy, as the bird in front creates a slipstream for the bird behind it to fly through.” (Animal Facts)

There are many more fascinating facts about these swans and the others, but these should help you appreciate Our Lord’s love and care for His Creation.

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. (Isaiah 40:28 KJV)

Coscoroba Swans Avian Web (Nice Photos)

Wordless Birds


Birds of the Bible – Swan Loyalty

Black Swan nest at Lake Morton

Black Swan nest at Lake Morton

Dan and I went to Lake Morton in Lakeland. The Swans were building nest all over the place. When we were there several months back, one of the couples was just starting their nest. Now it is quite huge and they have even put a fence around it.

Swans are one of the Birds of the Bible listed in Deuteronomy 14:16 and Leviticus 11:18 as being one of the unclean birds that the Israelites were not to eat.

And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle (Leviticus 11:18 KJV)

Here is an excerpt about the Swans and their loyalty to each other. This is from Creation Moments:
(I Corinthians 7:10) “Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband.”

“Most water fowl are faithful to one mate over long periods of time. However, the swan is a champion of marital fidelity.

Mute Swan on Nest at Lake Morton

Mute Swan on Nest at Lake Morton

In North America, they are called Whistling Swans or Tundra Swans. Another member of the same species is usually found in Europe and Asia, where it is called Bewick’s Swan. Researchers report that each has a unique pattern of yellow and black on its bill, making individuals easy to identify. This allowed researchers to trace their lives over many years.

These beautiful creatures have relatively long life spans. One individual was traced for 26 years. Typically laying four eggs in nesting season, they breed for most of their lives. They are highly territorial. In a face-off for food or nesting area, the largest male is usually the winner. When there is a disagreement, the males face each other while their mates cheer them from the sidelines. Single swans enjoying a nice discovery of food are often driven off by couples. Couples are faithful for life. Researchers say that they have recorded no cases of divorce among successfully reproducing couples. Nor do they report any case of marital infidelity among swans. If a mate is lost, the survivor often takes over a year to settle down with another mate. In one case a survivor waited for six years.

Marital fidelity is also God’s instruction to humans. Today many factors are allowed to challenge marital fidelity. Often infidelity before or after marriage is portrayed as simply normal. But if swans can manage fidelity, we humans have no excuse for infidelity.”

For more information, go to the Birds of the Bible – Swans Page
Experts stunned by swan ‘divorce’ at Slimbridge wetland
Bewick’s Swans aka Tundra Swans

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Black Swan

 Western Australian stamp, in 1854

Western Australian stamp, in 1854

Here’s a famous Australian icon, or perhaps I should say, Western Australian Icon – the Black Swan appears on the state coat of arms, reflecting Perth’s original name as the Swan River Settlement. The first Western Australian stamp, in 1854, was a Penny Black, but featured a Black Swan and not Queen Victoria. I first became aware of it as junior stamp collector in Ireland when Australia issued a stamp celebrating the centenary of this stamp. Living in a land of white swans, I found the idea of a black swan bizarre.

Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) by Ian

Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) by Ian

Anyway, I photographed this bird emerging festooned in sea grass in St Kilda in Melbourne. Black Swans are almost exclusively vegetarian, and feed by dabbling, grazing or, like this one, upending. When it first emerged, it made a languid effort to remove some of the sea grass, looking as if it was adjusting its boa, as in the first photo. It then seemed to decide it wasn’t worth the effort and came out of the water still draped in green.

Black Swans betray their evolutionary affinity with white ones, by having white flight feathers, though these are usually only visible – and then strikingly so – in flight. In fact, the Black Swan is though to be very closely related to both the Mute Swan of Eurasia and the Black-necked Swan of South America (the only other one of the 6 or 7 species of swan that isn’t entirely white). With a length of up to 140cm/55in, a wingspan of up to 200cm/79in and a weight of up to 9kg/20lbs, the Black Swan is rather small by Swan standards – the corresponding figures for the largest, the Mute Swan, are 160cm/64in, 240cm/95in, and 15kg/33lbs.

Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) by Ian

Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) by Ian

The Black Swan is widespread and abundant throughout mainland Australia and Tasmania, except in the top end of the Northern Territory and Cape York. It is also common in New Zealand, where it was introduced.

I’ve been adding marsupials to the Other Wildlife section on the website including:
Northern Brown Bandicoot
Brushtail Possum
Ringtail Possum and
Musky Rat-Kangaroo

Best wishes,

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email:



Black Swan Face by Lee at Lake Morton

Black Swan Face by Lee at Lake Morton

Lee’s Additions:

It was interesting to find out from Ian that the Black Swan is also down in Australia. We watch them all the time here when we are at Lake Morton in Lakeland, FL. I love the coloring on their beak. It is red with a white stripe around it. Also, the Swan is one of the birds mentioned in the Bible in the list of birds not to eat.

The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan, (Deuteronomy 14:16 KJV)

They have short legs and do not spring from the water to take flight. They run on the surface for about 15-20 feet while beating their wings to get airborne.

Interesting Links:

Black Swan – Wikipedia

Black Swan with cygnets by Craig’s Bird Watching and Nature Blog

Ducks, Geese, Swans

Web-footed and water-loving, this large, diverse, and gregarious group of birds is a favorite of birders and nonbirders alike.


Back to the Peterson Field Guide Video Series
“Ducks, Geese, Swans” Video is from petersonfieldguides at YouTube

See Also:

Birds of the Bible – Swan

Birds of the Bible – Swan

Swans are birds of the family Anatidae, which also includes geese and ducks. Swans usually mate for life. The number of eggs in each clutch ranges from three to eight.In North America we have at least four swans: Mute (60”), Trumpeter (60”), Tundra (52”), and Whooper (60”). There is also a Black Swan of Australia and a Black-necked Swan in South America. Swans are large, long-necked waterbirds that have a short duck-like bill and short legs. Many are seen on ponds, lakes, reservoirs and coastal bays. The Mute Swans are semi-domesticated. The Tundra Swan is sometime split into two species, Bewick’s and Whistling Swans.
The Swan is listed in Leviticus and Deuteronomy in the list of “unclean” birds.

And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier-eagle, (Leviticus 11:18 KJV)
The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan, (Deuteronomy 14:16 KJV)

Mute Swan pictures (click on for larger view) taken at Bok Sanctuary in Lake Wales. They were irritated because the worker was mowing the grass beside the water and they kept following him back and forth. They had their wings arched back in frustration, but we thought they were beautiful like what I think “angel’s wings” might look like.