Black Necked Swan
The Black Necked Swan has a white body with a black head and neck, a greyish beak with large red knob near the base of the beak, and a white eye-stripe. Both sexes are similar with the male (Cob) being slightly larger than the female (Pen). They have short wings, but despite this, they are still fast flyers. They can undertake long-distance migrations reaching speeds of up to 50 miles an hour. These swans spend most of their time in the water. They are poor at walking on land because their legs are set far back on their bodies to aid swimming.
They are considered by many to be the most beautiful of the swans. These swans are very important organisms within their environment, often being the key manager of aquatic plant populations. They have few predators as adults, but many animals such as minks and foxes feed on their young. Gulls are also a threat, eating the eggs.
Size: – Typical Adult is 45-55 inches.
Food: – Mainly aquatic plants, insects, and fish spawn.
Habitat: – Wetlands, marshes, lagoons, and shallow lakes in southern South America, and the Falkland Islands. This swan occurs in both saltwater and freshwater habitats — such as lagoons, freshwater marshes, swamps, lakes and sheltered coastal areas.
Breeding Season: – July to August, and August to mid-September further south in the Falkland Islands. Swans breed in freshwater marshes, ponds, lakes and along slow-flowing rivers with well-established aquatic vegetation which forms the bulk of their diet.
Eggs: – 4 to 6 (creamy-white color).
Notes: – The Black-necked is the largest waterfowl native to South America. They spend much of their time on the water as they are poor at walking due to their legs being set far back on their bodies. This makes it difficult for them to get airborne but they are strong fliers. Like the Mute Swan, they are quiet birds. The black-necked, like its nearest relatives the black and mute swan is relatively silent. Also, unlike most wildfowl, both parents regularly carry the cygnets on their backs. The female lays four to six eggs in a nest of vegetation mound. The diet consists mainly of vegetation, insects and fish spawn.
This is a particularly aggressive swan that uses its wings to beat its opponents during an attack. Rather than spreading out their wings during combat, they keep them pinned close to their bodies.