New Zealand Status: Indigenous
Conservation Status: Not Threatened
Cygnus atratus has mostly black feathers but the flight feathers are white. The bill is bright red with a pale bar and tip. The legs and feet are greyish-black. Cygnets (immature birds) are a greyish-brown with pale edges to the feathers.
Male birds are slightly larger than females and also have a longer and straighter bill. Mature black swans measure 1.1 to 1.4 metres in length, weigh between 3.7kg and 9kg, and have a wing span of 1.6 to 2.0 metres. Their long neck is usually held curved in a in an "S"-shape while swimming.
Cygnus atratus is found on most lakes and larger ponds, either natural or man-made, as wellas on estuaries which are an important habitat for feeding and moulting. Gathers in large flocks on selected estuaries during summer to moult, at which time the birds are flightless.
© Geografpix Photography, Steve Reader