Saturday, February 28, 2009

Black Swan with cygnets





Did you know:



The black swan was first described by English naturalist John Latham in 1790. It was formerly placed into a monotypic genus, Chenopis. ‘Swan’ is the common gender 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 Swans are mostly black feathered birds, with a line of white flight feathers of the wing edges that sometimes show when at rest, and are conspicuous in flight. 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.



Generally, black swans nest in the wetter winter months (February to September), occasionally in large colonies. A typical clutch contains 4 to 8 greenish-white eggs that are incubated for about 35-40 days. After hatching, the cygnets are tended by the parents for about 6 months until fledging, and may ride on their parent's back for longer trips into deeper water.


A Black Swan nest is essentially a large heap or mound of reeds, grasses and weeds between 1 and 1.5 metres (3-4½ feet) in diameter and up to 1 metre high, in shallow water or on islands. A nest is reused every year, restored or rebuilt as needed. Both parents share the care of the nest. Like other swans, the black swan is largely monogamous, pairing for life (about 6% divorce rate). Recent studies have shown that around a third of all broods exhibit extra-pair paternity.



28 comments:

Kallen305 said...

Excellent info. I have never seen a black swan before.

Tina said...

Craig,
Very interesting information about the black swan. Your photos are great and I love that orange/red bill!! Tehy must be very pretty when seen swimming and gliding along the lake's surface!! I appreciate the info as I'm just starting to learn more about shore birds...:)

Rhea said...

LOVE the black swans info...and the photos! Very cool.

Teena in Toronto said...

Thanks for the lesson!

I played too :)

Skittles said...

Such magnificent birds they are!

Sandy Kessler said...

so educational and the progression paramount sandy

T said...

Great information! Love the photos.

Steve B said...

Interesting post and smartly done. Thanks for doing the research. :)

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Facsinating birds.I like the new headerpicture.
Blessings,Ruth

jenn said...

I've never heard of a black swan...they are gorgeous!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

I love learning something new! These are all wonderful shots, but I am fond of the close-up of the cygnets. So cute and fuzzy.

Leedra said...

Loved the photos, the 'babies' appear to be so soft. Great post.

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Snap said...

Oh my goodness -- I think I'm in love with the babes!

Thank you -- delightful!

Tink *~*~* said...

Thanks for the lesson on black swans. I've only ever seen one, in captivity at Disney World. It's one of the more visually striking of all the water fowl, due to the red beak.

Tink *~*~*
Now Playing at My Mobile Adventures *~*~* :
The unfortunately named peacock at Disney and Busch Gardens

twobarkingdogs said...

Wonderful critters!

The Muse said...

Great piece!
I have loved swans for a long long time (yes, I'm that old) LOL...

One day I shall have a pond with swans....!
(I will have to train my doggies to love them (in a GOOD way, though!) LOL

Denise said...

Wonderful post. I enjoyed learning all about the Black Swan and loved the photos you've taken. Great shots all of them, thank you.

Dianne said...

your photos are beautiful, I didn't know anything about the black swan before

floreta said...

the last picture is my favorite! love black swans.

Misty Dawn said...

AWESOME post! I think these birds are unique and gorgeous! I have never seen one in person, but I certainly hope to!

Bird Girl said...

Really a great post, Craig!!! I loved the information and the pictures are just awesome!!!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

A most informative and interesting post Craig. Somehow swan have always had a mysterious feeling about them for me.

jalynn01 said...

Love your new header.. Perfection in those feathers and colors. I have never seen a black swan but learned alot from this post! Thanks!

Larry said...

Interesting facts-Ineresting to see the word cygnus-I always remember seeing cygnus the swan lited on my star chart as one of the constellations .I think it's also called the northern cross.

The Write Girl said...

Hi Craig,

The black swans are georgeous. I am guessing that the little, gray furry ones are the babies? They are adorable.

Thanks for the informative post and pics Craig

Michele Wassell said...

Beautiful photos as always.. Thanks for the lesson.. Its fun learning about different things from different people! :):):) Hope all is well...

Gardener's Garden said...

Beautiful shots of the swan & signets.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful shot of the swan and signets.