Scientific Name: cygnus atratus
Habitat: lakes and rivers
Diet: aquatic vegetation, roots
Life Span: 10 years
Young: 5 – 6 eggs per clutch
Size: up to 9 kg

The Black Swan is a large waterbird that is native to the southern regions of Australia. The species was hunted to extinction in New Zealand but later reintroduced. It has been introduced as an ornamental waterbird in other regions of the world as well.

Black swans are mostly black-feathered though they have white flight feathers that are only visible when they fly. Their bills are bright red, and their legs and feet are grey. Black swans are hatched with grey down and do not get their beautiful black feathers until the age of two. Swans have over twenty vertebrae making their necks very flexible (giraffes have seven vertebrae). They have a wing space of 1.6 to 2 meters.

The Black Swan is almost exclusively a herbivore, with its diet consisting mainly of aquatic and marshland plants.

Black Swans pair for life, and often reuse the same nest that is essentially a large heap or mound of reeds, grasses, and weeds between 1 and 1.5 meters across and up to 1 meter high. Both parents care for the young.

Find out more about Black Swans by visiting Beauty of Birds, or by stopping by the Edmonton Valley Zoo today!