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Australian Black Swan Pair (Click Here)
The Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) is a large waterbird which breeds mainly in the southeast and southwest regions of Australia.
Black swans were first seen by Europeans in 1697, when Willem de Vlamingh's expedition explored the Swan River, Western Australia.
The black swan was described scientifically by English naturalist John Latham in 1790. It was formerly placed into a monotypic genus, Chenopis.
The common name ‘Swan’ is a gender neutral term, but ‘cob’ for a male and ‘pen’ for a female are also used, as is ‘cygnet’ for the young. Collective nouns include a ‘bank’ (on the ground) and a ‘wedge’ (in flight). Black Swans can be found singly, or in loose companies numbering into the hundreds or even thousands.
Black Swan Cygnus atratusDescription
Black Swans are primarily black feathered birds, with white flight feathers. The bill is bright red, with a pale bar and tip; and legs and feet are greyish-black. Cobs (males) are slightly larger than pens (females), with a longer and straighter bill. Cygnets (immature birds) are a greyish-brown with pale-edged feathers.
A mature Black Swan measures between 110 and 142 cm (43-56 in) in length and weighs 3.7–9 kg (8.1-20 lbs). Its wing span is between 1.6 and 2 metres (5.3-6.5 ft). The neck is long (relatively the longest neck among the swans) and curved in an "S".
The Black Swan utters a musical and far reaching bugle-like sound, called either on the water or in flight, as well as a range of softer crooning notes. It can also whistle, especially when disturbed while breeding and nesting.
The Black Swan is unlike any other Australian bird, although in poor light and at long range it may be confused with a Magpie Goose in flight. However, the black swan can be distinguished by its much longer neck and slower wing beat.
White Mute Swan Pair (Click Here)
The Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) is a species of swan, and thus a member of the duck, goose and swan family Anatidae. It is native to much of Europe and Asia, and (as a rare winter visitor) the far north of Africa. It is also an introduced species in North America, Australasia and southern Africa. The name 'mute' derives from it being less vocal than other swan species. Measuring 125 to 170 centimetres in length, this large swan is wholly white in plumage with an orange bill bordered with black. It is recognisable by its pronounced knob atop the bill.
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)Description
Adults of this large swan range from 125 to 170 centimetres (49 to 67 in) long with a 200 to 240 centimetres (79 to 94 in) wingspan. They may stand over 120 centimetres (47 in) tall on land. Males are larger than females and have a larger knob on their bill.
The Mute Swan is one of the heaviest flying birds, with males (known as cobs) averaging about 12 kilograms (26 lb) and females (known as pens) more than 15 kilograms (33 lb). An unusually big Polish cob weighed almost 23 kilograms (51 lb), surpassing the longer-bodied Trumpeter Swan to make it the heaviest waterfowl ever recorded. Its size, orange-reddish bill and white plumage make this swan almost unmistakable at close quarters. The most similar species is the Whooper Swan, but it has a yellow and black bill, lacks the curved neck, is longer and heavier, and lacks the characteristic projection above the bill.
Young birds, called cygnets, are not the bright white of mature adults, and their bill is dull greyish-black, not orange, for the first year. The down may range from pure white to grey to buff, with grey/buff the most common. The white cygnets have a leucistic gene. All Mute Swans are white at maturity, though the feathers (particularly on the head and neck) are often stained orange-brown by iron and tannins in the water.
The morph immutabilis ("Polish Swan") has pinkish (not dark grey) legs and dull white cygnets; as with white domestic geese, it is only found in populations with a history of domestication.
Trumpeter Swan Pair (Click Here)
The Trumpeter Swan, Cygnus buccinator, is the largest native North American bird, if measured in terms of weight and length, and is (on average) the largest living waterfowl species on earth. It is the North American counterpart of the European Whooper Swan.
Males (also known as Cobs) typically measure from 145 to 163 centimetres (57 to 64 in) and weigh 11.8 kilograms (26 lb); females typically range from 139 to 150 centimetres (55 to 59 in) and weigh 13 kilograms (29 lb). The average wingspan is 2.03 metres (6.7 ft). It is rivaled in size among waterfowl only by the introduced Mute Swan, which is native to Eurasia, but the Trumpeter usually is longer-bodied. Exceptionally large male Trumpeters can reach a length of 183 centimetres (72 in), a wingspan of 3 metres (9.8 ft) and a weight of 17.2 kilograms (38 lb). The Trumpeter Swan is closely related to the Whooper Swan of Eurasia, and even has been considered the same species by some authorities.
These birds have white plumage with a long neck, a black bill subtly marked with salmon-pink along the mouthline, and short black legs. The cygnets (juveniles) are grey in appearance, becoming white after the first year. The Mute Swan can easily be distinguished by its orange bill and different structure (particularly the neck, which is almost always curved down). The Tundra Swan more closely resembles the Trumpeter, but is quite a bit smaller and usually has yellow lores. Distinguishing Tundra and Trumpeter Swans from a distance (when size is harder to gauge) is quite challenging, and can often be done only with experience and knowledge of structural details.
Black Neck Swan Pair (Click Here)
The Black-necked Swan, Cygnus melancoryphus, is the largest waterfowl native to South America - but is the smallest member in its genus. The Black-necked Swan was formerly placed in monotypic genus, Sthenelides.
Males are 115-140 cm (45-55 in) and 4.5-6.7 kg (10-14.8 lbs); females are 102-124 cm (40-49 in) and 3.5-4.4 kg (7.7-9.7 lbs). The wingspan is about 177 cm (70 in).
The body plumage is white with a black neck, head and greyish bill. It has a red knob near the base of the bill and white stripe behind eye.
Both sexes are similar, with a slightly smaller female.
The cygnet has a light grey plumage with black bill and feet.
Distribution / Range
The smallest member in its genus, it is found in freshwater marshes, lagoon and lake shores in the southern South America. The Black-necked Swan breeds in Zona Sur, Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and on the Falkland Islands. In the austral winter, this species migrates northwards to Paraguay and southern Brazil. The Laguna Blanca National Park in Argentina is a protected home of this swan. The wetlands created by the Great Chilean Earthquake like Carlos Anwandter Nature Sanctuary in Cruces River have become important population centers for the Black-necked Swan.
In 2004 and 2005 thousands of Black-necked Swans in the Carlos Anwandter Nature Sanctuary in Chile died or migrated away following major contamination by Valdivia Pulp Mill located on the Cruces River which feeds the wetlands. By August 2005 the birds in the Sanctuary had been "wiped out"; only 4 birds could be observed from a population formerly estimated at 5,000 birds. Autopsies on dead swans attributed the deaths to high levels of iron and other metals polluting the water .
The Black-necked Swan, like its nearest relatives the Black and Mute Swan is relatively silent.
Breeding / Nesting
Unlike most wildfowl, both parents regularly carry the cygnets (chicks) on their backs. (Please refer to the photo)
The female lays four to six eggs in a nest of vegetation mound.
Diet / Feeding
The diet consists mainly of vegetation, insects and fish spawn.
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