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The seven species of swans are an easily and universally recognised group of waterfowl, which have historically played important roles in the folklore, myths and legends in many cultures. Among the largest of all flying birds, they have been used as symbols of royalty, grace and beauty, and largely for these reasons, swans have only rarely been considered acceptable as targets for sports hunting. Swans occur on all continents but Africa, though most species are found in the temperate and arctic zones of North America and Eurasia. Swans are a long-lived species and are among the most strongly monogamous of birds, having prolonged pair and family bonds that influence their flocking and social behaviour, and contribute to the overall high degree of human interest in them. Swans: Their Biology and Natural History describes their distributions, ecology, social behaviour, and breeding biology. A bibliography of nearly 700 references is included.