Pet Health And Care >>  Bird Species >>  Blackswan  

Blackswan Species of Bird:

Known to be one of the largest water birds, black swans have a long and S shaped neck and a red bill.

An average black swan can weigh about 20 pounds and have a wingspan of six feet as well a length of four feet. Black swans are the official birds of Western Australia, and is a symbol of the Aborigines. It is believed that the white swan is the symbol of Australians who have a European background.

Food habits: Commonly found in the south of Australia and south-eastern parts of Tasmania, black swans are also found in Europe and New Zealand. These big birds live near water bodies like lakes, rivers and swamplands. The water here can be salty or fresh.

While black swans enjoy eating underwater vegetation, they also feed in flooded fields and dry pastures during times when food is in short supply.

Reproduction: These birds are known to mate for life. Generally, they mate in pairs, however, occasionally they are known to mate in colonies. February through September is an active mating period. The female black swan builds the nest and her abode could be floating or inland. On an average a female black swan can lay between four to seven eggs, a day apart. The incubation period is 35 to 48 days and males can help with the incubating. Male black swans also protect the nest from intruders. Once the eggs hatch, little cygnets pop out. It takes these baby birds some time to learn how to feed themselves and swim.

Cygnets learn to fly within two months, though they live with their parents till the next breeding season. Cygnets take 18-36 months to become sexually mature. They find their mates a year or two before they begin mating and breeding.

Lifespan: Black swans have a life span of forty years in the wild.

Characteristics: Black swans are known to move in flocks and shed their flight wings together. This is a dangerous phase for them as they become more vulnerable to predators because they cannot fly till the feathers grow back. Interestingly, the female swan sheds her flight feathers when she is laying eggs and nesting. The male swan sheds after the female grows her feathers back and can fly again. So, at least, one parent is able to fly and guard the eggs.

Black swans are mesmerizing birds and while they’re best left in the wild, they can also make for exotic pets.

  Submitted on January 14, 2010