Facts of the Black Swan

Updated on December 23, 2017
Deborah Minter profile image

Deborah is a research enthusiast! She takes special interest in the world's ancient mysteries.

The swan is thought of as a beautiful bird that is white. What about the black swan? This swan is just as impressive, yet bearing a completely different color than its famous relative. This black swan is the Yin, to the Yang, of swans.

The black swan is located in Australia and New Zealand. Their feathers are black in color with a line of white flight feathers on the edges of their wings. The bill is bright red with a pale bar and tip. The black swan is approximately 3.5 to 4.5 feet in length, and has a wing span of 5.2 to 6 feet. They are found in the wetlands, and are nomadic birds with no set migratory pattern. They fly at night, which seems suitable since they would be impossible to see at night, and rest during the day. They feed on aquatic plants and graze on grass when on land.


It was once thought that all swans were white. In 1697 Dutch explorer, Willem de Vlamingh was in Australia when he first discovered black swans. Vlamingh was the first European to officially arrive in Perth, Western Australia, and map parts of the Australian western coast. He named the swan River Colony, after the discovery. Vlamingh captured of a few of the black swans to deliver to Europe. Until then, Europeans thought all swans were white. The Black swans are the official birds of Western Australia and are featured on the flag and in the coat of arms.

  • The roman poet, Juvenal once said, “Rare Avis”- “A rare bird upon the earth, and very much like a black swan.”

The black swan was discovered in1697, in Australia by the Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh. Until then, all Europeans believed all swans were white.
The black swan was discovered in1697, in Australia by the Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh. Until then, all Europeans believed all swans were white.

Tales of The Black Swan

In aboriginal folklore, the reason the black swan is black, is because men once transformed themselves into swans to deceive women that possessed boomerangs. The women ran to the river to view the beautiful birds, only to discover that, they had been tricked. The women chased the swans away to a nearby river, where eagles resided. The eagles attacked and pulled the feathers out of the swans. Crows passed by and offered the swans there own feathers, therefore turning the swans black.

  • Not the movie! The movie, “The Black Swan,” has given quite the dark connotation to this beautiful black colored bird. Unfortunately the film has caused some people to believe the black swan is an entirely fictitious creature.

An Unexpected Event

An event in history that was unpredicted. The term “Black Swan,” has become synonymous with an unprecedented event. The discovery of the black swan by the European explorer was so unexpected that, the “the black swan” is considered an example of the unpredictable, only to be understood after the fact. The phrase “black swan” is also used in business environments to describe the possibility of unexpected events.

The black-necked swan is native to the southern wetlands of, South America.
The black-necked swan is native to the southern wetlands of, South America.

Nesting Habits

Swans find there “soul Mate,” for life. They build nest from the months of February to September. Most swan species will not allow other swans into their territory during breeding season. The black swan is an exception, in that they often build nest in colonies. Both the male and female build the nest together. The Eggs are greenish white in color and are incubated by the male and female for thirty five to forty days.

The little swans sometimes ride on their parents back for trips in deeper water. Chicks are able to feed themselves as soon as they hatch. Little swans are tended by their parents for six to nine months until they are ready to find their own territory.

The black swan has the longest neck of all swan species. They feed on small fish,algae and weeds.
The black swan has the longest neck of all swan species. They feed on small fish,algae and weeds.

The swan is a beautiful creature. The white swan’s beauty has been depicted in ballets and paintings. The black swan is just as lovely in its black color, and unique in its existence. The swan is an elegant bird that is a novelty of the bird family.

Questions & Answers

  • Like white swans, does a black swan die of heart-break when it's partner dies?

    Black Swans will commonly find another mate, even just months after losing its partner. White swans typically are more attached to it's soul mate.


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    • Deborah Minter profile imageAUTHOR

      Deborah Minter 

      14 months ago from U.S, California

      The black color comes from a larger amount of melanin in the feathers than white swans. It is beleived they evolved blacker than their white relative because the environment around them consisted of black rocks and sand.

    • profile image

      samyrah burgess 

      14 months ago

      why are swan black

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      You need more kids facts

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      No, you don't hear much about the black swans. In fact, I don't think I've seen the black swans in the wild until about six months ago. They are reagle like their counterpart.


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