The life cycle of a swan.

What are Swans?

Swans live on lakes and rivers. They are big birds and can weigh 13 kilograms. Swans are covered in white feathers. They have long bendy necks with more bones than in a giraffe's neck!


When mum swans are 3 years old they can lay eggs. The mum and dad swan choose a safe place by a river or lake to make a nest. Swans do not build nests in trees, like other birds, because they are so heavy! They use grass and water plants, like reeds, to build the nest.

Laying the Eggs

When the nest is ready the mum swan will lay the eggs. She sits on the eggs to keep them warm for 5 weeks. The dad swan looks out for danger and keeps them safe.

First few weeks

After 5 weeks the baby swans hatch out of the eggs. They peck through the eggshell with their beaks to get out. They stay very close to the mum and dad swan to keep safe.


The baby swans are called cygnets. They have soft grey feathers and grey beaks. It takes a year for the cygnets to grow new white feathers like their mum and dad.

Cygnet growth

The cygnets eat lots of water plants and animals. They grow quickly. When their wings get bigger the cygnet can fly. It takes them about 14 weeks to learn to fly.