Black Necked Swan A black-necked swan swims near the edge of the water, head extended forward. A gosling is on its back.
Black-Necked Swan

Scientific Classification

Common Name
black-necked swan
Genus Species
Cygnus (swan) melancoryphus (black pigment)

Fast Facts

As indicated by its name, this is a large white swan with a black neck. A red knob or carbuncle at the base of the upper mandible is enlarged in males at breeding season. The black-necked swan has short wings, but still is a fast flyer.
102 to 124 cm (40.8 to 49.6 in.)
4.0 to 5.4 kg (8.8 to 11.9 lbs.)
Black-necked swans are herbivores and feed mainly on aquatic plants.
36 days
Clutch Size
4 to 8 eggs
Feldging Duration
Approximately 100 days
Sexual Maturity
Approximately 4 years
Life Span
Averages 10 years, but able to live up to 30 years
This species has an extremely large range and can be found in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Falkland Islands, and Uruguay.
Inhabits swamps, freshwater marshes, brackish lagoons and shallow lakes
The total population is unknown but scientists believe that there are at least 10,000 mature individuals. The population is stable and not severely fragmented.
IUCN: Least Concern
CITES: Appendix II
USFWS: Not listed

Fun Facts

The term "swan song" comes from the ancient Greek belief that a swan sang a song of death when its life was about to end.

Male swans are called cobs, females are pens, and the young are called cygnets.

Swans have f 24 or 25 vertebrae compared to most mammals that only have seven.

Swans have the largest eggs of any bird capable of flight.

Swan parents will carry cygnets on their back while swimming, enabling the parents to regain weight lost to the rigors of mating, egg laying, incubation, simultaneous feeding, and brooding. This practice also provides protection for the downy cygnets.

The black-necked swan is the largest South American waterfowl.

Swans are known to have a triumph ceremony. Such ceremonies are when a male attacks a rival suitor, then returns to his potential mate to perform an elaborate ceremony while posturing and calling.

Ecology and Conservation

Swans are vital in controlling aquatic plant growth.

The Black-Necked Swan’s biggest threat is the loss of wetland habitat. The young also often fall prey to predators.


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BirdLife International. 2016. Cygnus melancoryphus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22679846A92832118. Downloaded on 28 November 2018.