The faces of individual Bewick's swans (Cygnus columbianus bewickii) are highly distinctive. Similarities between the faces of parents and their offspring in 12 families living in the wild were examined using a code that gave a value to 29 features of each individual's face. The similarities between the faces of 22 wild–living mated pairs were also analyzed. The offspring resembled both their parents more closely than would have been expected on a chance basis. The similarities were particularly striking in the upper part of the bill. Mates, on the other hand, did not resemble each other and analysis of each character suggested that in some respects, they were less like each other than would have been expected on a chance basis. It is concluded that the facial appearance of Bewick's swans is inherited and that the swans may actively outbreed.
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