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Invasive Species: Mute Swan

Mute Swan

(Cygnus olor)
*Established in Michigan*

Mute Swan Removal Permits

You and your neighbors can help protect Michigan’s natural resources by controlling invasive mute swans on your lakes and wetlands. Though hunting mute swans is not allowed, the DNR issues permits to remove mute swans and/or their nests and eggs. If you have mute swans on your property and wish to remove them or their nests and eggs, you must request a permit from your local DNR office.


  • Adult mute swans have orange bills
  • A black knob on the top of their bill
  • “S” curve of the neck (trumpeter swans have a “C” curve)
  • A quieter bird (trumpeter swans have a loud “trumpet” call)

identifying mute swans

mute swan

Means of Introduction:

Mute swans were introduced to North America in the mid-1800s to decorate parks and estates, and later brought to Michigan in 1919. These captive swans escaped and established a feral population. With their numbers growing quickly, this non-native invasive species is causing conflicts and damage across the state.


One of the world’s most aggressive waterfowl species, especially while nesting and raising their young, mute swans drive out native waterfowl and other wetland wildlife with their hostile behavior. Mute swans will chase native breeding birds from their nests.

A single mute swan can consume four to eight pounds of plants a day. They uproot and destroy these wetland plants that are a main food source for native birds and cover for native fish and invertebrates. Continuous feeding by a flock of mute swans can destroy an entire wetland ecosystem.

These large birds show little fear of people. Each year the DNR receives reports of mute swan attacks on people in boats and on shore.

Additional Resources:

Michigan Mute Swan Management and Control Program, Policy and Procedures PDF icon