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A leucistic cygnet?

Do we have a leucistic cygnet?

Last year wasn’t good for our swans. One got tangled in fishing line (and rescued). Then they all got caught in an oil slick in the beck, which was expensive to clean up. And finally, the adult male flew into one of our smaller houses, and died.

This year, the female found herself a new mate. At that time, the three surviving cygnets left – perhaps chased away by the new male. Still, they seemed strong enough to fare well by then.

This year, we have six new cygnets. Including a very special one. She seems to be “leucistic” (pronounced “LUKE-istick”). The word is related to leucocyte: white blood cell, and leukeamia: a disease of white blood cells. Leucism is a genetic colour variation, like a mild form of albinism. Sometimes leucistic swans are called “polish”, as opposed to the normal “royal” swans.

Sadly, the colour makes leucistic swans more vulnerable to predators. But, if they do survive, females are more likely to breed earlier because they look more adult.

One reply on “A leucistic cygnet?”

Yes, Chris Packham was explaining all that as he has leucistic badgers near his house. I was also reading that white cygnets are sometimes rejected or attacked by the male when they get older as he is programmed to attack white rivals. Let’s hope not, far too much drama altogether!

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