COMMON NAME: Black Swan
GENUS SPECIES: Cygnus (swan) atratus (clothed in black)
”Atratus” translates into “Dressed in Black.”
My / Our Experience with the Black Australian Swans has been
Limited.. We have Visited various Pair.. Enjoyed Observing them.
And we Tried to Rehabilitate Several.. without much Success.
We did what we could to give them a Chance to Heal and Improve.
I have not Checked Various States if there are Any Prohibitions
for having Black Australian Swans as Captive Pets.
In Pennsylvania there are NO Restrictions to Own or Breed them..
I am not Aware of Any States Restricting Ownership.
If there is a Concern.. Check with your States Department of Agriculture.
And, Or your State’s WildLife Services.. WaterFowl Specialists.
I am Going to Share some Basic Information..
Not much about the Wild – Free Black Australian Swans.
This Species of Swan has Dark-Black Plumage with White Feathers
in their Wings easily seen during Flight.
Their Wing Span Averages One and a Half to Two Meters.
The Cobs have a more Pronounce Ruffling of their Back to Tail Feathers..
Female Black Swans tend to hold their Necks in a Slight Curve.
And the Mature Cobs tend to have the Longest Necks among the Swan Species.
The Elongated Neck enables the Black Swans to reach Deep into
the Water to Feed on Algae and other Aquatic Vegetation.
Their Beak is more Red with a White Band near the Tip.
And the Iris of their Eyes is a Bright Red.
I Realized that I could Suspect Anemia by the Color of their Iris.
Anemia may be Caused by External or Internal Parasites.
Blood Loss after an Injury.. Chronic Infection or a Poor Diet..
Their Legs and Webbed Feet are Dark Grey-Black.
Males – Cobs Average 18 – 20 Pounds
Females – Pens Average 10 – 14 Pounds
Life Span.. from Reading.. With Good Luck and Health.
40 Years is Possible. I have No Experience with this.
10 Years seems more Realistic.
I have Never heard any Owner of Black Swans say they are Good for Controlling the Canada Geese that are a Problem on many Ponds.
Black Swan Vocal Sounds Musical “Tweets and Hoots”
The Black Swan is the most Social and least Territorial of all Swans.
There are Exceptions.. All Swans have their Own Personality.
NATURAL DIET: Herbivores, Eating mainly Aquatic Vegetation
In Captivity as Pets.. the General Swan Feed Mixtures is Good.
They will Live on Ponds and Lakes with Natural Vegetation.
In the Colder Regions.. Pennsylvania Included.. The Black Australian
Swans may need Sheltering during the Colder Nights. They are
Smaller and more Willing to be inside out of the Direct Cold.
If your Swans, any Swans are Sheltering, be SURE to Secure the Door or Opening a Night.. Inside a Structure they are Trapped. Vulnerable.
Healthy Adults are OK out on Open Water during the Day…
Happier Inside on Icy Cold Nights.
Cygnets that Hatch in the Fall will need Shelter at Night through
most Cold Winter Months. Remember to RAISE the Heat Lamps as they Grow.
Like other Swan Species..
Sexual Maturity is at 2 – 3 Years Old.
BLACK SWANS MATING DANCE ” Joyful Bath”
The Black Swan Above are on an Island in the Middle of their Pond.
Black Swans Build their Nests on Islands or in Dense Vegetation near Water.
Black Australian Swans Nest Twice a Year.
Both Cob and Pen will Gather Twiggy Materials for their Nest.
Nestings occurs in February and again in September.
Once in Early Spring. And a Second Brood.. in the Fall.
Black Australian Swans are Comfortable Nesting Inside a Shelter.
Important to Secure any Opening at Night.. Keep Predators OUT !!
Healthy Females Lay 4 – 6 Pale Greenish Eggs for each Clutch.
Both the Male and Female share in Incubation “Sitting” on the Eggs.
The Black Cob spend much more time on the Nest then the Mute Swan Cobs.
Once Incubation Begins.. Expect Cygnets in 35-36 Days.
Remove Unfertile Eggs after 42 Days. Discard..
Hatching an Average of 3 – 6 Cygnet each Nesting..
Shortly after Hatching, the Cygnets can Swim and Feed themselves.
Their first Food is the same as other Cygnet Species.
Feeding Swan Cygnets
In the Wild they would EAT LOT of Water Insects and Small invertebrates.
Feeding mostly from the Water’s Surface.
The Cygnet above is NOT WaterProof… he is WET !!!
When Cygnets are NOT Raised on a Pond.. They need Pool Time to Encourage Preening.. to Aid and Improve their WaterProofing..
Black Swans will Play in any Puddle of Water. They will do OK on a Slightly Small Pond then the Larger Mutes and Trumpeter Swans.
I have not had an Opportunity to Observe Black Australian Cygnets
Raised on the Pond with their Parents.. Only Hand Raised Cygnets.
The Cygnets are Too Easily taken by Predators.
The Spring Brood Hatch during Chilly-Chilly March Weather.
And the Fall Brood are not Developed enough to be Outside in our Cold Winter Months.
They need to be Sheltered. Hard to do with the Parent.. who will do better out on the Pond in Cool Moderate Weather.
If they were able to Live with their Parents, they will Ride on their Parent’s Back for Longer Trips around their Waterways.
The Cygnets have Gray Down for Three to Four weeks.
Then the Beautiful Smoky Black-White Tips Feathers Emerge.
Their First True Feathers are Dark Smoky Brown not as Black
as the Mature Adults.
The Male Cygnet above is about 3 Months Old. Growing Nicely.
The Beaks of Black Cygnets seem to go through some Color
Variations as they Mature to the Bright Red and White.
The Cygnets need to be Ready for Life on their Own by 14-16 Weeks..
Rehoming-Adoption at 5 to 6 Months is Workable..
Since there are Fewer Black Swans being Raised..
It is a Challenge to Arrange Young Unrelated Pairs.
It is a Good Idea to seek others who have and
Raise Black Australian Swans.. then Network with them..
It is Common for Pairs to be from the Same Brood..
Not a Healthy Practice. Genetic Diversity Produces Healthier Swans.
When the Adults are Ready to Start another Nesting..
I have no Experience if Two Different Broods will be OK staying
with the Parent.
From Reading, it is often Stated that Cygnets will Remain with
their Parents for Nine Month before they Fledge and become Independent.. Suggesting Two Broods are in the Parents’ Care at the Same Time.
Most Folks who have Captive Pet Black Swans,
Arrange for New Homes for each Brood of Cygnets..
It would be Reasonable to Spoil some Clutches of Eggs..
to Limit the Number of Cygnets. There are Options..
When Black Swans are Allowed to Pair at Will..
There are Frequently Two Females and One Male.
They seem to enjoy being a Threesome.
How & Who will Breed.. ??
I do not have that Experience..
It Suggests.. One Female is a Spare.?? A “Nanny.”
If something Happens to the Nesting Female,
the other Female will take over the Nest.
?? Both Females share Caring for the Cygnets.
One being the “Nanny.”
I can not find anything in Reading about this..
so, this might have been my Observation Experience.
After their Breeding Season the Adults Moult and are unable to Fly
for about a Month. The Females Moult First, several Weeks later the Males start their Moult.
I do not know if they Moult Twice a Year..
Or just after One of their Two Nestings… ??? Spring
The Right Wing of the Right Black Swan is Pinioned.. Most White Flight Feathers are Missing.
To Care for Captive Pet Black Swans Pinioning is Suggested.
If they are able to Fly.. they may simply Fly Away.
They have Little Chance of Surviving a Feral Life in Pennsylvania..
The Black Australian Swans will Live and Build their Nests in a Colony
if their Water Environment will Support their Numbers..
If their Water Environment is not Flushing with Clean Water and you see
Fecal Material Floating on the Surface, this is not a Healthy Place.
Too many Waterfowl… will FOUL a Smaller Pond.
Males do most of the Defending and Chasing off of “Enemies.”
Territorial Disputes seem Less Severe.. Not sure how to word this..
There is more Posturing between Rival Males then “Out and Out” Battling..
The Black Swan Cobs average Weight is 18 to 20 Pounds..
Mute Cobs can be 28 to 30 Plus Pounds..
BUT, we have Witnessed and there are Internet YouTube Video Clips..
of the Black Cobs being more Fierce and Aggressive toward the Larger Mutes.
There is a “Pecking Order” on most Bodies of Water among the Waterfowl.. Black Australian Males like to the at the Top of Order..
They can be Surprisingly Aggressive. – The Pond Bully.
The Black Swan NestMate Males will also become Compatible Pairs.
If you Prefer NOT to deal with Nesting Twice a Year, Two NestMate Males
Might be worth Considering.
We / I have had Fun visiting with Black Australian Swans..
We have tried to Rehabbed / Cared for Several.. My Experience is Limited.
I Hope I have not Misrepresented their General Behavior.
As I Read various OnLine Articles, I can see that each Swan Owner
has their own Experiences and Observations.
General Fact Articles about the Black Australian Swans,
seem to be largely “Cut and Paste” Information.
The BeautyofBirds.com has a Nice Fact Article..
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&& I am about to do the Same Thing….
Just a Little “Cut and Paste” History BackGround..
Before European Explorers had reached Australia,
it was believed that all Swans were White.
Dutch Mariner, Antounie Caen, was the first to be Amazed at the Sight of Australia’s Black Swans on the Shark Bay in 1636.
Explorer Willem de Vlamingh Captured two Black Swans from Australia’s Swan River and Brought them back to Europe to prove their Existence.
During the Nineteenth Century, the original Western Australian Colony was called “the Swan River Settlement.”
In 1973, the Black Swan was Officially Proclaimed as the “Bird Emblem” of the Government of Western Australia and now appears on their State Flag.
Black Swans are still found Living Wild and Free in various Wetland Habitats in Australia and Tasmania.
There are some Black Swans Living Free in the Regions of Sweden.
Within Australia they are Nomadic, with Erratic Migration Patterns dependent upon Climatic conditions.
Like other Swans they need Open Water during the Colder Months.
The Black Swans were Hunted to Extinction in New Zealand, but later Reintroduced.
In Victoria (Australia) and Tasmania they have caused enough Crop Damage that the Government has established a short Hunting Seasons to Control their Numbers.
In the United States, there is No Mention of Feral Black Swans.
The Australian Black swan has a Rare Color Variation.
It is known as Silver or Merle Swan.
Knox Swan and Dog has a Breeding Program in place to try
and get a Pure Strain of Silver Swans.
The Plan is to get enough Swans with the Silver Gene to match up
in Breeding Pairs to produce the Silver Swans.
If you know anyone who has an Australian Swan with this
Rare Color Various Bob Knox would like to you to Contact him..
The Few Images included are All from the Internet..
Knox Swan & Dog LLC (847) 304-1230
75 Saddle Tree Ln, North Barrington, IL 60010
The General Information is a Blend of my Experiences and Reading.
Compiled by Linda M. Sweger June 2020
I Love this Image.. I Wish I could Identify the Photographer.. Lovely.