FREE! Click here to Join FunTrivia. Thousands of games, quizzes, and lots more!
Quiz about Just Swanning Around
Quiz about Just Swanning Around

Just Swanning Around Trivia Quiz


Swans are beautiful, graceful birds that can often be spotted serenely floating about on the water. Let's see what you know about these apparently carefree birds.

A multiple-choice quiz by Fifiona81. Estimated time: 4 mins.
  1. Home
  2. »
  3. Quizzes
  4. »
  5. Animal Trivia
  6. »
  7. Wild Birds
  8. »
  9. Specific Bird Species

Author
Fifiona81
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
376,997
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
503
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
- -
Question 1 of 10
1. In England, an activity known as 'swan upping' takes places every year on the River Thames. It sounds like people just swanning around but actually has an important purpose - what? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. The mute swan is found around the world and has a distinctive habit of curving its neck back onto its body and fluffing up its wings when threatened. What is the (ironically) musical name given to this aggressive posture? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. The whooper swan, a large white bird with a predominantly yellow bill, has breeding grounds across northern Europe and Asia. Which country included a whooper swan as part of the national design on its one Euro coin? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Australian black swans are distinctive members of the swan family due to their black plumage and red bill. However, on closer inspection, which of a black swan's feathers are actually white? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. Bewick's swan and the whistling swan are two closely related sub-species of tundra swan. These birds are commonly found in the same colonies and often interbreed.


Question 6 of 10
6. Which species of swan is native to North America and was extensively hunted in the 19th century for its meat, feathers and skin? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. The coscoroba swan, a large white bird with black wingtips and a red beak, more closely resembles a goose than other members of the swan family. On which continent would you find its native habitat? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. Cygnus melancoryphus is native to South America and is a slightly odd looking bird with the white body typical of northern-hemisphere swans coupled with a black neck and head more like that of the black swan from Australia. By what common name is this swan known? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Like many birds, swans existed long before humans became a dominant species on Earth. Several extinct species have been identified from their fossil record, including Cygnus falconeri, an aptly named large swan that lived around the Mediterranean during the Pleistocene epoch. What common name has been given to this long-lost swan? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Several species of swan have an additional anatomical feature known as a 'tracheal loop', which causes these birds to utter a series of long, drawn-out notes if their lungs collapse. This phenomenon has been put forward as a potential explanation for which term? Hint



(Optional) Create a Free FunTrivia ID to save the points you are about to earn:

arrow Select a User ID:
arrow Choose a Password:
arrow Your Email:




Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. In England, an activity known as 'swan upping' takes places every year on the River Thames. It sounds like people just swanning around but actually has an important purpose - what?

Answer: An annual census of the swan population

Swan Upping has been carried out on the River Thames for around 900 years and was first formalised in law by King Edward IV in 1482. All unmarked mute swans in Britain traditionally belong to the monarch but activities relating to this ownership (such as Swan Upping) are only carried out in areas around the River Thames. The Swan Upping process consists of three teams of 'uppers' representing either the monarch, the Worshipful Company of Vintners or the Worshipful Company of Dyers (two livery companies from the City of London which date back to around the 12th century) rowing up and down stretches of the river, cornering the swans and ringing the ones they manage to catch.

As well as providing an annual population count of the swans on the river, the process gives the 'uppers' the chance to check both the health of the birds they catch and the numbers of cygnets around (a useful indicator of the overall health and viability of the population).

Although swans used to be a prized dish at a medieval English feast, today swan meat is generally not on anyone's menu as it is illegal to hunt them (people have been prosecuted for theft and criminal damage for attacks on swans since they belong to the Crown). Mute swans are not an endangered species so captive breeding programmes are not required and the River Thames is not in any imminent danger of being damaged by an overpopulation of swans.
2. The mute swan is found around the world and has a distinctive habit of curving its neck back onto its body and fluffing up its wings when threatened. What is the (ironically) musical name given to this aggressive posture?

Answer: Busking

A mute swan's (usually a male mute swan's) busking efforts don't really bear any resemblance at all to the type of busking that involves outdoor musical performances - especially as their movements are often accompanied by a loud hissing that no passer-by in their right mind would ever pay good money to listen to. Despite their name, mute swans are definitely not mute - being capable of a reasonable range of hissing, grunting and snorting noises - but they are less verbose than many other swan species. (I suppose 'slightly quiet swan' wouldn't have quite the same ring to it though.)

Mute swans are native to Europe, Asia and northern Africa but are an introduced species in much of the rest of the world. In North America they are considered an invasive species and proposals to limit their population have been put forward. They are renowned (along with other swan species) for mating for life and mated pairs can be highly territorial and guard their nests and young assiduously. Despite this though these birds can also live together in large colonies, although most large groups of mute swans will be made up of young, as yet un-paired birds.
3. The whooper swan, a large white bird with a predominantly yellow bill, has breeding grounds across northern Europe and Asia. Which country included a whooper swan as part of the national design on its one Euro coin?

Answer: Finland

The whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus) is the national bird of Finland, which explains why the Finns use a picture of two whooper swans flying over Finland on the obverse side of their one Euro coins. The physical Euro coins and banknotes were first put into circulation in 2002 and each Eurozone member had the opportunity to put a national design of their own choice on the obverse side of each of the eight denominations of coins available.

Whooper (pronounced hooper) swans are very vocal birds, particularly when trying to organise themselves into the large flocks seen flying between their breeding grounds in northern Europe and Asia and their winter homes further west and south. They are noted for their ability to communicate via a range of calls and gestures in order to both identify a flock leader and co-ordinate their take offs.

The initial one Euro coin designs in the southern European nations of Greece, Italy and Spain were a drachma coin, Leonardo da Vinci's 'Vitruvian Man' and an image of King Juan Carlos I respectively.
4. Australian black swans are distinctive members of the swan family due to their black plumage and red bill. However, on closer inspection, which of a black swan's feathers are actually white?

Answer: Flight feathers

The black swan is just one of the many distinctive creatures that can be found in Australia and is the state emblem of Western Australia. It takes pride of place on the state's flag and appears on its coat of arms. Although it appears completely black-feathered when spotted serenely swanning around on the water, as soon as it takes to the air the white flight feathers in its wings instantly become visible. Interestingly black swan cygnets tend to be much the same shade of grey as cygnets belonging to other, white-feathered, swan species.

Black swans are one of the most vocal swans, being capable of producing quite harmonious bugle-like calls - particularly whilst in flight - as well as a variety of soft musical tones. Its upper back feathers, tail feathers and leg feathers are all black.
5. Bewick's swan and the whistling swan are two closely related sub-species of tundra swan. These birds are commonly found in the same colonies and often interbreed.

Answer: False

Bewick's and whistling swans are both a nice snowy white colour, with a predominantly black bill and black feet. However, Bewick's swans are generally found in the Palearctic - Europe, northern and central Asia and northern Africa - while the whistling swan is from from the Nearctic - North and northern Central America. Therefore they are rarely found together in the wild and are certainly not known for living in joint colonies or regularly interbreeding.

Bewick's swan is named after Thomas Bewick (1753-1828), an English engraver and the author of 'A History of British Birds'. However, the whistling swan is not particularly known for its whistling ability - in fact both species generally make honking noises.
6. Which species of swan is native to North America and was extensively hunted in the 19th century for its meat, feathers and skin?

Answer: Trumpeter swan

In the early 20th century the trumpeter swan was believed to be on the verge of extinction following years of hunting. Sadly, the beauty of this graceful creature meant that its feathers were in high demand for use in millinery, while swan skins were a major product for fur trading companies like the Hudson's Bay Company - the soft skins were commonly turned into powder puffs (of all things!). However, in the 1960s a large breeding colony of trumpeter swans was discovered in Alaska and this allowed efforts to be made to reintroduce the birds across the continent - a programme that has had some success.

Their name comes from the resonant sound of their 'trumpeting' rather than any ability with brass musical instruments. Bugler, horned and clarion swans do not exist.
7. The coscoroba swan, a large white bird with black wingtips and a red beak, more closely resembles a goose than other members of the swan family. On which continent would you find its native habitat?

Answer: South America

The coscoroba swan can be found 'swanning around' in the lakes and swamps of South America. It spends the summer months of the breeding season on the southern tip of the continent and on island groups such as the Falklands and Tierra del Fuego. During the winter it migrates north to northern Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.

Its close physical similarity to geese has resulted in its classification as a member of the swan family being disputed. It is not a member of the Cygnus genus like all the other swan species and is instead classified in its own monotypic genus as Coscoroba coscoroba.
8. Cygnus melancoryphus is native to South America and is a slightly odd looking bird with the white body typical of northern-hemisphere swans coupled with a black neck and head more like that of the black swan from Australia. By what common name is this swan known?

Answer: Black-necked swan

The black-necked swan can generally be found around freshwater in southern South America; with lakes, lagoons and marshes being among its favoured territories. It is the smallest species of true swan (members of the Cygnus genus) but still a fair-sized water bird. Although at first glance it might appear to share the distinctive red bill of the black swan, it in fact has a black bill with a large red knob at the base.

There is no such thing as a red-billed, black-footed or zebra swan.
9. Like many birds, swans existed long before humans became a dominant species on Earth. Several extinct species have been identified from their fossil record, including Cygnus falconeri, an aptly named large swan that lived around the Mediterranean during the Pleistocene epoch. What common name has been given to this long-lost swan?

Answer: Giant swan

The giant swan is believed to have been about a third larger than its surviving cousin, the mute swan. It may well have been flightless due to its size and weight - since the much smaller mute swan is one of the largest and heaviest flying birds today and that definitely has trouble taking off (a fact that would be apparent to anyone who has watched a mute swan flapping and running along the water every time it needs to get airborne).

Fossils of the giant swan have been found on the Mediterranean islands of Sicily and Malta. These would have seemed distinctly strange worlds to modern humans during the period of the Pleistocene epoch that the giant swan inhabited (about 100,000 to 700,000 years ago) - giant birds, including the giant swan, would likely have lived side by side with smaller mammals including pygmy elephants and dwarf hippos.
10. Several species of swan have an additional anatomical feature known as a 'tracheal loop', which causes these birds to utter a series of long, drawn-out notes if their lungs collapse. This phenomenon has been put forward as a potential explanation for which term?

Answer: A swan song

The term 'swan song' is used to refer to a final act or performance. It is derived from a Greek myth that swans (not generally birds known for their musical ability) suddenly burst into song when their demise is imminent. Aesop (a Greek storyteller from the 6th century BC) uses the myth in his fable 'The Swan Mistaken for a Goose'. In that tale a swan (that has been mistaken for a goose) is carted off to become someone's dinner, but senses its upcoming fate and bursts into melancholy song. It is then duly recognised as a swan and freed to live another day.

The whooper swan, trumpeter swan, Bewick's swan and whistling swan all possess the additional tracheal loop that allows them to make a wider range of sounds than other swan species - including the haunting sounds that appear to often accompany their own death.

The term "swanning around" (or "swanning about" or "swanning off") is generally used to refer to someone who is wandering idly or not carrying out required tasks or actions. 'The Ugly Duckling' is a tale by Hans Christian Andersen about a cygnet who is teased for not looking much like his duckling friends, but grows up to become a beautiful swan. A "swan's neck" or "swan neck" is a term used for a s-shaped curve in decorative works or a deformity of the fingers where the joints bend to create an s-shaped appearance.
Source: Author Fifiona81

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor guitargoddess before going online.
Any errors found in FunTrivia content are routinely corrected through our feedback system.
Related Quizzes
This quiz is part of series A Flock of Bird Quizzes:

A selection of my quizzes about various different birds and bird species.

  1. Duck, Duck, Goose! Average
  2. One Day My Duck Will Come... Average
  3. P-P-P-Peek at a Penguin Average
  4. Owls, Truthfully Average
  5. The Vultures Are Circling Average
  6. Blackbird or Black Bird? Average
  7. Just Swanning Around Average
  8. Parrot Fashion Average
  9. Santa Birdy Average
  10. Huffin' and Puffin Average
  11. A Partridge in a Pair Tree Easier

Also part of quiz list
7/14/2024, Copyright 2024 FunTrivia, Inc. - Report an Error / Contact Us