Created 11-Dec-16
Modified 12-Apr-18
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Cygnus atratus

Black Swan

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.
Cygnus atratus, Black Swan at WetlandBlack SwanCygnus atratus, Black Swan PortraitCygnus atratus, Black Swan Cygnet