Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Day 197 - Black Beauties, lovely Black Swans

Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) sat on eggs.
Hi all today's Day 197 and, as you may know, I sometimes go to a lovely place called Washington Wetlands Centre run by the Wildfowl and Wetland Trusts. They are specially managed reserves where endangered species are reared and bred but also attract a lot of our local wildlife. They have a very large area to roam, there aren't even any enclosures!

As I said they help endangered species such as the bird that I am covering. Well, technically it isn't an endangered species it's just one that doesn't really get seen very often.

A dodgy iphone shot of one at York
So, from all the clues I have given you, the title and the pictures you'll have figured out that today's post will be about Black Swans. I don't just see them at Washington Wildlife Trust, I also see them where my Dad sometimes works at York University. They are really nice to watch and it's a bit of variety from all of the white Swans.

So, here are some facts:
  • Black Swans are of Least Concern as they have a very large range but they aren't usually found in England...
  • ...Following on from this, they are usually found in Australia and Tasmania. They have also been introduced, and are well established in, New Zealand.
  • They are usually about 125cm long and usually have a 180cm wingspan. Males usually weigh from 3800g - 8750g while Females usually weigh from 3700g - 7200g.
  • Their Latin name (Cygnus atratus) means something (contrary to yesterday's bird) very related to it. Cygnus means 'The Swan' while Atratus means 'clothed in mourning' (black) so their full name means The Swan Clothed in Black.
Black Swan with white cygnets.
  • Yesterday I started a new fact, because I have recently been bird-ringing, about what ring size they have, in this case they have a M* ring size. (Here I'm going off Mute Swan because I can't find the Black Swan ring size anywhere).
  • Around 1/4 (one-quarter) of all Black Swan pairings are homosexual. This is mostly between Males.
  • Still on the subject of breeding, Black Swans are Monogamous and usually pair up for life. They do have a 6% 'divorce' rate though.
  • One final word on breeding, although they are called Black Swans, their under-wings are white along with their cygnets.
  • They do not a have a migratory pattern but are instead nomadic and move around in response to drought or rainfall.
    That long neck comes in handy for getting a snack
    when you can't leave your eggs!
  • Relative to their size Black Swans have the longest neck of all swan species.
  • The collective noun for a group of swans on the ground is a bank, but in the air they are a wedge, probably as they often fly in a V formation in flight, though they will also fly in a line.
Here are some links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,



  1. They're beautiful birds - lovely photos as always Zach! - Tasha

  2. Fascinating facts. Thanks Zach. great shots, especially like the one with the cygnets