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Black Swan

A Black Swan looking back at the camera while swimming through murky water

Scientific Name: Cygnus atratus

Size: 114 to 142 cm (males larger than females)

What does it look like?

The only black swan found anywhere in the world, all other species being almost entirely white, except for one South American species that has a black neck. In flight the neck is held outstretched and the broad white wing tips contrast the otherwise black body. The bill of the adults is deep orange-red with a distinct narrow white band and paler white nail at the tip of the upper mandible. Younger birds are much greyer in colour, and have black wing tips.

Where is it found?

Introduced into several countries and vagrant to New Guinea.

What are its habitats & habits?

The Black Swan favours extensive waterways and permanent wetlands where it feeds mainly on algae. It can be observed throughout Australia, with the exception of Cape York Peninsula, but is more common in the south.

Interesting facts

The Black Swan requires up to 40 metres or more of clear water to take off.

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Front cover of Australia's Birdwatching Megaspots book showing a picture of an Eastern Spinebill

This species features in my book Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots

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