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Mute Swans Rotation Display

A couple evenings ago I witnessed these two male mute swans meet up and begin to synchronize their swimming. It was really bizarre because one swan in particular is extremely aggressive toward other swans. Aggressive enough that he has drown at least one male swan by grabbing its' neck and holding it under water. So when these two came together I thought I was going to witness a drowning but instead they swam in synchronized circles for about 20 minutes. Surprisingly, there was absolutely no sign of aggression from either of them. Curious, I googled mute swan behavior and found this explanation:


"Mute swans are territorial and will often defend their territory in an aggressive manner. Rotation displays, however, are rare examples of a non-violent territorial display.


Rotation displays are most commonly seen at the territory border between two adult swans. During this display, both neighboring swans swim close together whilst they turn simultaneously 360 degrees on the spot.


This display is performed successively for several minutes, in which time neither of the swans attack or evade the other. It is used in the maintenance and regulation of territory borders."


Information gathered from Claire Thomas, Wildlife Adviser.

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Uploaded on June 16, 2012