What Is the Proper Name for a Male Swan?

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Male swans are typically called cobs. This word is a variant of a Middle English word, cobbe, which referred to a leader of a group. This is likely where the word, and then the bird, got their connections to masculinity.

Female swans and young swans also have specific names. Female swans are known as pens, while baby swans are called cygnets or swanlings. The term “cygnet” comes from both a Greek word and the Latin word cygnus, which refers to a swan, and a French suffix meaning “little.” As a group, swans are called a bevy or a wedge.

Swans are among the largest of the flying birds and can reach a length of 5 feet long. Swans in the Northern Hemisphere usually have white plumage, while swans in the Southern Hemisphere have black and white plumage. Swans generally have black legs, and can have black, yellow or red bills. They are the only birds to have tiny ridges or teeth in their bills.

Swans are generally found in temperate regions, and only rarely occur in the tropics. They are migratory in varying degrees depending on their species and geographic location. The birds are herbivores and feed on the underwater sections of water plants.