A man feeding mute swans in Hyde Park, London

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Man feeding mute swans in Hyde Park

A man feeding mute swans (Cygnus olor) in Hyde Park, London, one of the scheduled venues of the 2012 London Summer Olympics - wallpaper size 2048 x 1536

The photo depicts a man feeding swans in Hyde Park, one of the largest parks in central London, United Kingdom. The park, contiguous with Kensington Gardens, has an overall area of 253 hectares (625 acres) together with the latter, and it is one of the largest parks in the world.

The park is scheduled to host the 10 km open water swimming and triathlon events for the 2012 London Summer Olympics. The events are expected to be held at temporary venues custom-built for the Olympic Games and it is expected that the buildings and structures temporarily built shall be demolished after the games. The park is also scheduled to host the 2012 Iron Man competition.

American pop singer Madonna, 53, is also expected to perform at Hyde Park on 17th July 2012 during her ninth concert tour named Madonna World Tour to promote her twelfth album MDNA (2012).

The picture shows Mute Swans with the species name Cygnus olor, belonging to one of the six species (sometimes grouped into seven) of the genus Cygnus of the family Anatidae (duck family), the same family to which ducks and geese also belong. The bird is considered monogamous, mating for its whole life with the same partner. Sometimes the swans may divorce, but usually it is because of nesting failures.

The swans, one of the largest flying birds, can weigh about 15 kg (33 pounds) and measure over 1.5 meters (60 inches). Though the sexes look more or less alike with similar plumage with no visible signs of sexual dimorphism, males can be easily recognized as male swans are generally bigger and heavier than female swans.

Swans with pure white plumage are usually found in the Northern Hemisphere, while the species found in the Southern Hemisphere have mixed plumage of black and white. There is a completely black species Cygnus atratus, the Australian Black Swans, which have totally black plumage except some white flight feathers found on their wings.

Swans are sometimes hunted for their meat. Swan meat has been considered a luxury food (or royal delicacy) in England since the times of the reign of Elizabeth I (1533-1603), the Queen regnant of England and Ireland.

In many cultures and religious traditions, swans, especially pure white swans are treated with a mystical or spiritual aura. Swans are also treated as a symbol of love and fidelity, as they are known for their life-long monogamous relationships.

Being one of the most beautiful birds, swans a find special place in literature and art. For instance, one of the most popular legends in Greek mythology is the story of Leda and the Swan in which Zeus (Jupiter) disguised as a swan seduces Leda, the Queen of Sparta, and out of their union Helen of Troy (along with three other siblings) was born.

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