Swan Flight

A swan is a large heavy bird, so how does it fly?

The Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) is a large water bird in the Anatidae family.

It grows to 125-170 centimetres (49-67 inches) tall. It is the second largest waterfowl in the world (the Trumpeter Swan is the largest), and it is one of the heaviest flying birds.

Its wingspan is very long at 3 metres (10 feet). 

It flies by gently flapping its large wings. As the wings move, there is often a whistling or humming sound. Its wings are too big to flap quickly, so it glides.

The Mute Swan glides across the water. It can do this because it has a hight lift to drag ratio, which means that its wings create a lot of lift, without producing much drag. 

It can also fly to great heights up to 240 metres (8,000 feet) high. 

It flies up to 97 kilometres (60 miles) per hour. That’s about as fast as a lion running. So, the swan is one of the fastest waterfowls in the world.

Location of photographs: Paris, France

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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