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How Do Swans Die?

How Do Swans Die?

Swans are waterfowls that form monogamous pairs and mate for life. Some swans die without any disease or cause but mostly there is a valid cause of swans death. The main cause is flying accidents when swans fly crashed with a building, hundreds of swans die every year due to this reason. Although, diseases like tuberculosis and visceral gout in adult swans, acuaria in juveniles, and trauma in Downies are not uncommon. 

Diseases spread in water very fastly to prevent the disease from spreading keep the swans away from the water. In rare cases, there is no cause for death because the organs of swans get decomposed. The lifespan of swans is around 20 to 30 years.

How Do Swans Die?

Swans are aquatic birds that live for approximately 20 to 30 years. There are several reasons for swan’s death. The majority of swans die by colliding with a building. Lead poisoning in swans is due to ingesting lead fishing weights. Diseases such as aspergillosis easily spread in water and swans can die in a short time. Other main causes of swans death are injuries and infections

Live History

Swan is a large, white, and fiercely territorial waterfowl found on a large number of waterways. Swans start breeding at the age of 3 to 4 years and they often pair for life. The courting behavior and nest building begin in February. Nests are usually built on grounds near the water’s edge. The female incubates the clutch of 5-7 eggs for 30 days. Both mother and father swan take care of their cygnets, who are hatched during May to July covered in down and ready to swim. Swan parent’s care normally lasts for 7 months. When the brown plumage of a juvenile is replaced by white, it is referred to as an adult and then chased away. They tend to flock until they are of breeding age. Swans can live for up to 25 years.

Flying Accidents

The largest single cause of swans death is flying accidents. According to the analysis of swans data indicated 22% of adult death and 23% of young swans died because of flying accidents. Further research on swans revealed that there was no difference between adults and juveniles in the frequency of flying accidents. Last year many flying accidents happened including ten birds dead by crashing with a building, two birds hit vehicles, and one collided with an aircraft. 

Seasonal variation in the frequency of flying accidents was determined for adults and juvenile mute swans. There was little variation in overall swans motility during the year but there was a marked variation in the percentage of swan deaths due to flying accidents each month.

Lead Poisoning 

Usually, swans eat one or more lead fishes weights or shotgun pellets, which causes lead poisoning. As the lead is ground down it forms soluble lead salts, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream. According to a report, 21% of deaths in adult swans and 10% in juveniles died because of lead poisoning. After flying accidents, it is the predominant cause of death of juvenile swans. The mute swans were also found to die of lead poisoning, however, which may be due to their close contact with humans. 

The use of lead is banned in many areas by Byelaws subsequently introduced by the various water authorities. 


Disease like Aspergillosis is really common in waterfowls due to their mouldy feed. It is difficult to diagnose but it is quite clear from its symptoms namely dyspnoea or rattling wet cough. It can be fatal. there is another disease known as peracute, birds with this disease die in a short time. 

Acute is also a known disease among birds. They get it and become very lethargic and after a few months, they tend to die in water. Its signs can resemble Botulism but tend to happen sound April time. In addition, birds will get diarrhea with or without blood from the mouth or nose.  You can prevent the spread of diseases by removing birds from the water.

Post mortem signs: characteristic raised yellow caseous plaques along ridges of the lower esophagus.


Anglers have been criticized for more than two decades about swans and fishing tackle. New research revealed that injuries sustained by swans from angling related activity have decreased in number. Most angling clubs now enforce strict anti-litter measures and ban offenders from their fisheries. Although, swan rescue groups attended to over 8,000 swans in trouble past year, with 3,000 of these due to angling related activity. The majority of these incidents occurred during the summer months when young and inexperienced anglers were most likely to be fishing.

Shooting and Bites

All species of swans receive legal protection from hunting in Britain under the wildlife and countryside. The whooper and Bewick swans spent their winters in Britain and receive protection throughout their migratory range. According to statistics, nine of the adult Bewick swans and one juvenile were killed by hunters. There were no cases of shooting among the mute and the whooper. We don’t usually remove pellets unless they are near the eye or jaw. Lead toxicity does not occur because the pellets become walled off. However, swans become infected with bacteria and it can be very dangerous for them. Mink can kill cygnets with one bite to the dorsal thoracic arm. 


Most swans die in flying accidents when they collide with a building or an aircraft. In June and July swans are flightless and none of the deaths were recorded during this period. Peak mortality levels associated with collision were from September to October. Another major cause of swans death is an injury which is caused by angling related, territorial fights, wife beating, dog bites, mink bites, and electrical burns from overhead power cables. Swans were found to have died of lead poisoning, however, which may be due to their close contact with humans.

There are many other causes including diseases, infections.

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