Black Swan

STATUSLeast Concern

COMMON NAME (SCIENTIFIC NAME)Cygnus atratus

DIETAlmost entirely herbivorous feeding on aquatic plants and grasses.

RANGEBlack swans are found mainly in southern Australia and have been introduced to New Zealand and Sweden.

HABITATCan be found in large lakes, rivers, or lagoons in fresh or saltwater.

Black Swan

About: These swans are distinctive with black plumage, a long neck, and red bill with a white tip. The tips of the flight feathers are also white whereas the juveniles’ are black. Their webbed feet are also black.

Swans are highly protective of their young and will attack any human or predator who intrudes on their nesting territory. Ill-tempered and territorial, they will not tolerate other swans, except their mates and young.

Despite their graceful and somewhat intimidating appearance, black swans communicate in high pitched squeaks and trills.

 

Life Cycle/ Social Structure Juveniles tend to change partners, but once mature, they mate for life. Nests are constructed from twigs and reeds in the center of a lake and are rebuilt year after year. Nesting takes place from February to September. Young remain with their parents for 9 months. Usually, females lay between five and six eggs; each egg is laid a day apart. Males usually help out during the 35 to 48 days of incubation, after which the chicks hatch. During courtship the male lifts its head and wings and calls to the female, who returns the call. Then, they alternate dipping their heads and calling, and swim in a circle.