Black Necked Swan

Black-Necked Swan

Scientific Classification

Common Name
black-necked swan
Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Anseriformes
Family
Anatidae
Genus Species
Cygnus (swan) melancoryphus (black pigment)

Fast Facts

Description
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.
Size
102 to 124 cm (40.8 to 49.6 in.)
Weight
4.0 to 5.4 kg (8.8 to 11.9 lbs.)
Diet
Black-necked swans are herbivores and feed mainly on aquatic plants.
Incubation
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
Range
Southern portion of South America, including Falkland Islands
Habitat
Inhabits swamps, freshwater marshes, brackish lagoons and shallow lakes
Population
Global: Unknown
Status 
IUCN: Not listed
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 young are cygnets.

Swans have far more neck vertebrae than mammals, with 24 or 25 vertebrae; most mammals only have seven.

Swan eggs are the largest of any flighted bird.

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 cygnets are often food for other animals too.

This species's primary threat is drainage of marshy areas.


Bibliography

Austin, G. Birds of the World. New York. Golden Press, Inc., 1961.

Gotch, A.F. Birds - Their Latin Names Explained. UK. Blandford Books Ltd., 1981.

Johnsgard, P. Ducks, Geese, and Swans of the World. Lincoln. Univ. Of Neb. Press, 1978.

Johnsgard, P. Waterfowl: Their Biology and Natural History. London. University of London Press. 1968.

Palmer, R.S. (ed.). Handbook of North American Birds. Vol. 4. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988.

Scott, P. A Coloured Key of the Wildfowl of the World. Slimbridge, England. The Wildfowl Trust. 1988.

Todd, F.S. Natural History of Waterfowl. San Diego, Ca. Ibis Publishing Co., 1996.