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Black-necked Swan - BirdForum Opus

Adults with chicks
Photo © by Julian Tocce
Lago Pellegrini, Río Negro, Patagonia, Argentina, 10 October 2015
Cygnus melancoryphus


Males - 115-140 cm (45½-55 in); females - 102-124 cm (40- 49 in)

  • White body
  • Black neck and head
  • Greyish bill
  • Red knob near base of bill
  • White stripe behind eye

Cygnet - Plumage light grey, bill and feet black.

Adult in flight
Photo © by Rodrigo Reyes
El Yali National Reserve, Central Chile, 2 June 2007


South America: found in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands.


This is a monotypic species[1].
Formerly placed in the monospecific genus Sthenelides. The specific name is sometimes misspelled melanocorypha, e.g. by HBW, Sibley & Monroe and others. The change to melancoryphus was necessitated for gender agreement when the species was moved to Cygnus but melanocoryphus was used by Clements until the 2007 revision of their sixth edition and that misspelling is common in older publications.


Photo © by Fritz73
Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2003

Freshwater marshes, lagoon and lake shores.



Breeds from July to August and mates for life. The nest is a large mound of vegetation usually in reed-beds close to the water's edge. The clutch consists of four to seven eggs incubated by the female.


The diet is primarily aquatic vegetation but they also eat insects and fish spawn. They occasionally graze on land foraging on terrestrial plants.


Photo © by Luis R
Bicentennial Park, Santiago, Chile, February 2018

Usually silent but when alarmed may give a series of soft, musical whistling notes especially during flight.


Resident throughout most of its range, but some of the southernmost populations are migratory. Occasionally wanders considerable distances.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Wikipedia contributors. (2018, August 22). Black-necked swan. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 09:38, January 21, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Black-necked_swan&oldid=856019686
  4. Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Black-necked Swan (Cygnus melancoryphus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/52805 on 21 January 2019
  5. Black-necked Swan (Cygnus melancoryphus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/blnswa2

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