Baby swans are known as "cygnets," a word derived from the Latin word for swan, "cygnus." Cygnets are easily distinguished from adults, as they are much smaller and are usually covered in a gray downy coat.
A swan's brood usually consists of three to eight cygnets. Unlike the adults, which live on water plants, grains and grasses, cygnets eat aquatic insects and crustaceans, often catching these creatures as they are stirred up by the parent swans' foraging. Young swans are mature enough to form adult pair bonds as young as 20 months but usually do not begin nesting and raising cygnets of their own until they are 4 or 5 years old.