The creativity of nature knows no bounds. We learned about the Mute Swans which are white. We learned about the Black Swans. We have learned about swan facts in general, and now, we have Black-necked Swans, and it is needless to say, these are majestic birds. In this article on Black-Necked Swan facts, we are going to learn a few things about this incredibly beautiful bird. Are you ready?
Just like before, let us start with the scientific classification, which is essentially the same for all swan species. Here is the classification:
Kingdom – Animalia
Phylum – Chordata
Class – Aves
Order – Anseriformes
Family – Anatidae
Subfamily – Anserinae
Genus – Cygnus
Type Species – Cygnus cygnus
Species – Cygnus melancoryphus
Since we have the classification, let us now dive straight into the Black-Necked Swan facts.
Black-necked Swan Facts: 1-10
1. Black-necked Swans are essentially white swans with a black neck!
2. They are native to Southern South America.
3. They are found in Argentina, Falkland Islands, Chile, Brazil, and Uruguay.
4. The average length of Black-Necked Swans is 40 inches to 55 inches with the males having an average length of 45 to 455 inches, and the females having an average length of 40 to 49 inches.
5. The males weigh between 4.5 to 6.7 kilograms while the females weigh between 3.5 to 4.4 kilograms.
6. Black-necked Swans have smaller wingspan compared to Mute Swans and Black Swans. Still, they are amazing fliers.
7. The average wingspan of the Black-Necked Swans is 70 inches or 177 centimeters.
8. They have a bulky body and long neck just like other swans but their legs are relatively shorter. The legs are flesh or pinkish colored.
9. The head and the neck are black while the rest of the body has white plumage. A thin white strip surrounds the eye and stretches up to the rear of the head by moving along the sides of the crown.
10. The beak or the bill is blueish-gray in color and there is a bright red double-lobed knob right at the base of the bill. The knob is known as the caruncle. The caruncle grows larger in males when the breeding time comes.
Black-necked Swan Facts: 11-20
11. On land, the Black-Necked Swans are quite clumsy and are not great walkers.
12. In the air, however, they are great fliers and can easily attain speeds of 50 miles an hour. They can also undertake long-distance migration.
13. The Black-Necked Swans are known for breeding in swamps, freshwater marshes, shallow lakes, brackish lagoons, and slow-moving rivers. They, however, prefer large freshwater ponds that have well-established aquatic vegetation.
14. Most of the Black-Necked Swans will find their mates before they turn two years of age. Though some may breed when they turn two years old majority of them will not breed and nest until they attain the age of 3 to 7 years.
15. These swans, like other swans, will usually mate for life, that is, they will usually stay with a single partner for the rest of their lives.
16. In some cases, they may divorce but that will usually happen after multiple failed nesting attempts.
17. Because the Black-Necked Swans mate for life, they will only move on to another mate when one of the partners dies.
18. If one of the partners dies and some cygnets are yet to become independent adults, the surviving parent will take care of the cygnets.
19. The Black-Necked Swans engage in nesting from July to November.
20. Once the mating pair is within the nesting territory, they will perform courtship dances which will include facing each other with quivering wings and bobbing their heads.
Black-necked Swan Facts: 21-30
21. The pen is responsible for choosing the nesting area while the cob will be responsible for defending the territory.
22. The pen will usually select that area for nesting where she hatched. The nesting territory can be as small as 6 acres or as big as 150 acres!
23. The selected nesting area will usually have a single water body with shallow and uncontaminated water but ample food supply and few disturbances.
24. Black-necked Swans will always select an elevated place surrounded by water for building the nest. They may also build their nest on emergent vegetation that is either anchored to the floor of the water body or is floating on the water.
25. A Black-Necked Swan pair will usually use the same nest that it used the previous year. The pair will repair the existing nest.
26. The pair will start building nest between August and September and the nest is built using sedges, grasses, aquatic vegetation, etc. The male collects the material and the female builds the nests. The nest will usually have a diameter of up to 11.5 feet.
27. A female will lay anywhere between 4 and 7 eggs. It the clutch turns out to be the first clutch of the pen, the eggs will most likely be infertile.
28. The female incubates the eggs for 36 days and the male keeps defending the area. Very rarely the cob can help to brood.
29. The usual time for the eggs to start hatching is from late October to early November. The cygnets will, however, emerge from June to July. When they are born, they are covered with down and their eyes are already open. They can climb out of their nests within 24 hours and start swimming and even diving within 48 hours from the time of hatching!
30. By two weeks of age, the cygnets start feeding on a protein-rich diet for supporting their rapid growth. They will usually feed on aquatic insects and crustaceans. By the time they are 4 to 6 weeks old, they will gradually switch to a plant-based diet. This is when their parents will usually carry them on their backs to safely transport them to their feeding zones and then back to the nest.
Black-necked Swan Facts: 31-40
31. By the time the cygnets are 8 to 10 weeks old, they will attain nearly half their adult size and by this time, they will be almost fully feathered. By the time they are 13 to 17 weeks old, they will learn to fly.
32. The cygnets have gray plumage that they retain until they reach the age of 2 years after which, they will attain the distinctive adult colors. However, the neck feathers of the cygnets start darkening by the time they reach the age of 3 months.
33. When the breeding season ends, the Black-Necked Swans undergo a molt. This happens before the migration time starts. This is when they will lose their flight wings and they will become flightless for nearly 60 days.
34. The breeding pair of Black-Necked Swans will shoo away the young cygnets when they get started with their new brood. By this time the cygnets are about a year old.
35. The juveniles will stay together for another year and by this time they will find their mating partners.
36. These swans usually feed on aquatic plants and algae. They also feed on things like carrots, potatoes, wheat, etc.
37. Their usual feeding style is to plunge their head and neck underwater to uproot the aquatic plants and then they snap off the stems and leaves. The cygnets, however, depend on their parents and they forage on the aquatic matter that their parents stir up.
38. The average lifespan of the Black-Necked Swans is 10 to 30 years. In captivity, they live for fewer years with an average lifespan of just 7 years. Some can live up to 20 years in captivity.
39. Black-necked Swans are relatively silent like the Mute Swans. They make a soft and musical whistling sound that they keep repeating quite often, especially during flights.
40. In IUCN Red List, the Black-Necked Swans are marked as ‘Least Concern’ as their numbers are pretty much stable across their range.
That concludes our list of Black-Necked Swan facts. In case you think you can add a few more to the list, feel free to drop a comment.