Swans are birds that are a bit on the larger and heavier side of things. Therefore, it makes sense that a lot of people ask the question ‘can swans fly?’ or even ‘do swans migrate south for the winter?’. Well, that is exactly what we want to talk about on this page!
Can Swans Fly?
Yes! All swans can fly. This is because the swan is a migratory bird.
Now, you may not notice a swan flying all that much. This is because once they have found a nice stretch of water, they tend to stick around.
Swans really do feel more at home on the water than they do in the air. They can swim surprisingly fast too, but that is a story for another day.
Swans are incredibly good flyers. If they are looking for a brand-new place to live, or they are in the midst of a migration, then they will easily fly hundreds of miles in a day.
They will barely be taking a break at this point either. Swans are one of those birds that can switch off half of their brain at a time.
This will allow half of their brain to sleep while the rest of their brain will control their flying. It is quite a remarkable thing to actually see.
It isn’t just about the distance that they can cover either.
So, how fast can swans fly? When swans fly, they will often fly at around 30 miles per hour, which is a very, very fast speed when you consider their size.
Swans tend not to fly alone all that much. Instead, they will fly with the rest of their flock. In rare cases, you may even find that swans will start to join up with other flocks.
However, this is something that is mostly going to be happening when the birds are migrating as opposed to looking for a viable food source.
If this wasn’t enough, many swans are able to fly at astonishing heights in comparison to other birds. There are some swans that will fly as high as 6,000 feet in the air!
This is part of the reason as to why this is a bird that can fly long distances and at very fast speeds.
There is very little wind resistance when they are up that high, which means that they can travel far more effortlessly.
However, once they are flying at that sort of height, there is a risk that they will end up flying into an aircraft, and this is something which can happen fairly often.
You hear various stories about swans just flying into an aircraft’s engine. Luckily for swans, they never really need to travel this high up anyway.
The bulk of the time that they will be flying this high is if they are migrating.
Do Swans Migrate South for The Winter?
Most swans will migrate south during the winter months. This is because swans really, really are not fans of the cold.
In fact, in the coldest parts of the world, swans can die. They certainly cannot deal with snow.
Since swans can only be found in the western hemisphere, there will be no flying north in the winter months of the southern hemisphere.
This is really just going to be the northern hemisphere swans flying back to their homes.
It is worth noting that some swans are partially migratory. This means that if they live in a warmish area as it is, they will probably not move during the winter months.
Some swans will migrate further than others. This is because they are not really going to be seeking to travel long distances.
They are looking to be flying just far enough that they will be able to survive the winter months.
This raise the question how far can swans fly? The short answer is, there will be some swans that will fly hundreds of miles, while others may barely creep over the 50-100 mile mark.
To give you an idea as to how far some swans are willing to travel, many swans living in Russia will travel to Japan.
Some swans (like the mute swan) will travel from the Arctic (where they live up there in the tundra) all the way down to the United Kingdom.
Do You Need to Worry That Swans Can Fly Away When You Own Them?
No. Well, at least not most of the time.
If you own swans, then you should be clipping their wings a couple of times each year. Ideally, unless you know how to clip a swan’s wings, then you should be getting a professional to do it.
This will ensure that the swan doesn’t get injured during the clipping process.
Once the wings have been clipped, the swan will barely be able to fly.
They may be able to launch themselves off of the ground for a few meters, but it is unlikely that they are going to be able to travel very fast. At some point, the swans are not even going to bother attempting to fly.
Most swans that have had their wings clipped tend to only attempt to fly if they feel under threat from a predator.
Remember; since swans will not be able to fly away for the cold months, you will have to deal with the problem of them absolutely loathing the cold and not really being built for that.
This means that during the colder months of the year, you are going to want to ensure that your swans have a nice warm area that they can head to if they start to feel a little bit uncomfortable.
It is worth noting that clipping a swan’s wings and utilizing other methods to stop a swan from flying, is illegal in some countries.
Therefore, you will want to check whether it is legal in yours before you start to clip the swan’s wings.
Swans Flying Final Thoughts
So, there you have it. If anybody asks you whether swans can fly, you can answer with a resounding yes.
They are incredibly good flyers despite their size too.
Swans will even migrate when it starts to get a bit colder too, which is why you will not find this bird around all that much during the colder months of the year.
Related articles: Do you know the actual difference between a swan and a goose or if swans can eat apples?