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Amazing Characteristics of Black Swans



black swansBlack swans are native to most of Australia, including Tasmania. It has been introduced into several countries, including New Zealand, where it is now common and there are some free-living birds in Sweden. Black swans are mostly black feathered, with a line of white flight feathers of the wing edges that sometimes show when at rest and are conspicuous in flight.

Black swans prefer larger salt, brackish or fresh waterways and permanent wetlands, requiring 40m or more clear water to take off. Outside the breeding season, black swans travel quite large distances. Birds fly at night and rest during the day with other swans.

The species has a large range, with figures between one to ten million kilometers square given as the extent of occurrence. The current global population of the Black Swan is estimated to be up to 500,000 individuals. No threat of extinction or significant decline in population has been identified in this numerous widespread bird. Black swans are protected both by law and by sentiment in Australia although because of large concentrations and resulting crop damage, a short hunting has been introduced in Victoria and Tasmania.

Black swans form isolated pairs or small colonies in shallow wetlands. Birds pair for life, with both adults raising one brood per season. The eggs are laid in an untidy nest made or reeds and grasses. The nest is placed either on a small island or floated in deeper water. The chicks are covered in grey down, and are able to swim and feed themselves as soon as they hatch.

The ability to form a male pair is a normal part of the Black Swans social behavior and an example of a flexible life strategy in the species.



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