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Black Swan Facts

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

A black swan.

A black swan.

Black Swan Physical Characteristics and Habitat

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.

Black swans are found in Australia and New Zealand. Their feathers are black with a line of white flight feathers on the edges of their wings. Their 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 they rest during the day. They feed on aquatic plants and graze on grass when on land.

History

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 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, Europeans believed all swans were white.

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

Tales of The Black Swan

In 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 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 their own feathers, therefore turning the swans black.

  • Not the movie! The movie, 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 it 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 their “soul mate” for life. They build nests from February to September. Most swan species will not allow other swans into their territory during the breeding season. The black swan is an exception, in that they often build nests 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 in the bird family.

Black and white swans are seen swimming together.

Black and white swans are seen swimming together.

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Cited Sources:

https://australianmuseum.net.au/black-swan

carolinabirds.org

Questions & Answers

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

Answer: 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.

Question: Are black swans born from white swan?

Answer: Black swans originally came from Australia so they did not mingle with white swans. The two have been bred in captivity and have given offspring.

Question: How would you describe a black swan's personality?

Answer: The black swans are more aggressive than white swans.

Comments

Deborah Minter (author) from U.S, California on March 21, 2019:

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.

samyrah burgess on March 21, 2019:

why are swan black

Paul on May 13, 2018:

You need more kids facts

threekeys on December 23, 2017:

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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