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Have your say on Freycinet

12/06/2018

Public comment is now invited on the Draft Freycinet Peninsula Master Plan.More

Ben Lomond recovery works update

31/05/2018

Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) will oversee the recovery works at Ben Lomond after a recent fire destroyed essential infrastructure.More

Southwest ecological burns important for orange-bellied parrot conservation

22/03/2018

Planned ecological burns in Southwest National Park will help regenerate important habitat areas for the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot.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.