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Celebrating the achievements of landcarers

04/12/2017

The Tamar Island Wetland Cares Volunteer Group has been recognised in the 2017 Landcare Tasmania Awards.More

Horsetail Falls walk now open

15/11/2017

Visitors to the West Coast are in for some spectacular views on the new Horsetail Falls walk near Queenstown.More

Bruny Island Neck lookout re-opens

10/11/2017

The walkways and lookout at the Bruny Island Neck will re-open to the public today, following the completion of a new, larger car park that will provide improved access to the popular lookout.More

Black swan, Cygnus atratus

Description

Black Swans are the only entirely black-coloured swan in the world. Adults reach up to 142 cm in length, and are mostly black, with the exception of the broad white wing tips which are visible in flight.

The bill is a red to orange-red, paler at the tip, with a distinct narrow white band towards the end. The legs and feet are greyish-black.

Cygnets (immature birds) birds are much greyer in colour, and have black wing tips. Pens (females) are smaller than cobs (males).

Habitat

Black Swans prefer larger salt, brackish or fresh waterways, swamps and permanent wetlands. The species is highly nomadic, moving opportunistically in  response to either rainfall or drought. Outside the breeding season, Black Swans travel quite large distances. Birds fly at night and rest during the day with other swans.

Diet

Black Swans are vegetarians. Food consists of algae and weeds, which the bird obtains by plunging its long neck into water up to one metre deep. Occasionally birds will graze on land, but they are slow, clumsy walkers.

Breeding

Black Swans form isolated pairs or small colonies in shallow wetlands. Birds pair for life, with both adults raising one brood per season. The 4-8 greenish-white eggs are laid in an untidy nest made of reeds and grasses and incubated for about 35–40 days. Cygnets are tended by both parents for about 6 months.

Call

A musical, trumpet-like call often heard during flight and at night.

Distribution

Distribution Map courtesy Natural Values Atlas, data from theLIST © 2010 State of Tasmania.

Black Swans are common throughout the wetlands of south western and eastern Australia and adjacent coastal islands with the exception of Cape York Peninsula. They are more common in the south and uncommon in central and northern Australia.

In Tasmania, Black Swans are abundant and can be seen on most wetlands, lagoons and farm dams. Large numbers can be found at Moulting Lagoon on Tasmania's east coast and on the Derwent River near Bridgwater.