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Black Swan

From Opus

Adult carrying a chickPhoto © by Tiger1Bibra Lake, Perth, Western Australia, 14 September 2016
Adult carrying a chick
Photo © by Tiger1
Bibra Lake, Perth, Western Australia, 14 September 2016
Cygnus atratus


[edit] Identification

110-142cm (43ΒΌ-56 in)

  • Mainly black plumage
  • White flight feathers of the wing edges
  • Bright red bill with a pale bar and tip
  • Greyish black legs and feet

Juvenile - Greyish-brown with pale-edged feathers.
Subadult - Similar to adult but with black tips to the white flight feathers.

[edit] Distribution

Southeast and southwest regions of Australia. Has also been introduced to New Zealand, Florida and the Netherlands.

[edit] Taxonomy

This is a monotypic species[1].

[edit] Habitat

Any wet area, fresh water and salt water. Swamps and rivers.

Molting adult in flightPhoto © by aa2Western Australia, 13 May 2009
Molting adult in flight
Photo © by aa2
Western Australia, 13 May 2009

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

They have a vegetarian diet, consisting of the leaves and shoots of a variety of aquatic plants.

[edit] Breeding

Both sexes build the large nest which is a 1meter high mound of reeds, grasses and weeds which may be up to 1.5 metres diameter, in shallow water or on islands. The clutch of 4-8 greenish-white eggs are incubated for about 35-40 days. The young fledge about 6 months later.

[edit] References

  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
  2. Wikipedia contributors. (2018, October 15). Black swan. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:20, November 3, 2018, from
  3. Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2017). Black Swan (Cygnus atratus). 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 on 10 March 2017).
  4. Marchant, S. & Higgins, P.J. (coordinating editors) 1990. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand & Antarctic Birds. Volume 1, Ratites to ducks. Melbourne, Oxford University Press.
  5. Williams, M.J. 2013. Black swan. In Miskelly, C.M. (ed.) New Zealand Birds Online.

Arthur Grosset's Birds

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