Black Swan

Black Swan and cygnet scouring for algaeWhat 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 does it live? Introduced into several countries and vagrant to New Guinea.

What are its habitats and 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 fact: The Black Swan requires up to 40 metres or more of clear water to take off.

Scientific name: Cygnus atratus

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

Do you want to know the best places to go to see this species? Check out our book “Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots” – available for purchase through our secure online store