Swimming Swan Cygnets at São Paulo Zoo

1_Black-necked Swan cygnets Sao Paulo Zoo

Since September, the São Paulo Zoo, in Brazil, has welcomed fifteen Black and Black-necked Swan cygnets. The snowy babies can be seen swimming alongside their graceful parents…or being chauffeured.

2_Black Swan cygnets and parents Sao Paulo Zoo

3_Black Swan cygnets and parents Sao Paulo ZooPhoto Credits: Paulo Gil /São Paulo Zoo (Image 1: Black-necked Swan cygnet / Images 2-6: Black Swan cygnets and parents)

4_Black Swan cygnets and parents Sao Paulo Zoo

The Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) is a large species of swan, which breeds mainly in the southeast and southwest regions of Australia. The species was introduced to various countries as an ornamental bird in the 1800s.

The Black-necked Swan (Cygnus melancoryphus) is the largest waterfowl native to South America. However, they are the smallest member of their genus.

Black Swans are mostly black-feathered, with white flight feathers. Their bill is bright red and legs are greyish-black. An adult can measure between 110 to 142 cm (43 to 56 in.) in length and weigh 3.7 to 9 kg (8.2 to 19.8 lb.). Their wingspan is 1.6 to 2 meters (5.2 to 6.6 ft.).

Black-necked Swans have a black neck and head, greyish bill, and white body plumage. They have a red knob near the base of the bill and white stripe near the eye. In comparison to the adult Black Swans, the Black-necked species is slightly smaller. Adults average 102 to 124 cm (40 to 49 in.) and weigh 3.5 to 6.7 kg (7.7 to 14.8 lbs.) Their wingspan ranges from 135 to 177 cm (53 to 70 in.).

The Black Swan utters a musical, bugle-like sound and they are known to whistle when disturbed while breeding or nesting. Like the Mute Swan, the Black-necked Swan is relatively silent.

Both species are almost exclusively herbivorous. They feed in a similar manner to other swans, dipping their head and neck underwater.

Like other swans, the two species are largely monogamous, pairing for life. Their nest is a large mound of reeds, grass and weeds and is built in shallow water or on islands. It is reused every year and rebuilt as needed.

Both parents share the care of the nests, and a typical clutch of 4-8 eggs are incubated for 35 to 40 days. Both sexes participate in incubation. After hatching, the cygnets are tended-to by both parents and are fledged at about 9 months.

Cygnets may ride on the parent’s back for trips into deeper water, but Black Swans are less known for the behavior than Mute or Black-necked Swans.

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Black-Necked Swan Cygnets Hatch at Zoo Zurich


Black-Necked Swan cygnets have hatched at Zoo Zurich. The grey offspring can be seen following their graceful parents in the water or riding, stylishly, on their backs. 

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4_10333657_979323328785639_3986113645097048609_o (1)Photo Credits: Peter Bolliger / Zoo Zurich

The Black-Necked Swan is native to South America. They are found in freshwater marshes, lagoons, and lake shores in southern South America. They breed in the Chilean Southern Zone, Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, and on the Falkland Islands. In the austral winter, they migrate northwards to Paraguay and southern Brazil.

Adults average 40 to 49 inches (102 to 124 cm) and weight 7.7 to 14.8 lbs (3.5 to 6.7 kg). The wingspan ranges from 53 to 70 inches (135 to 177 cm). The body plumage is white with a black neck and head, and the bill is grey. The Black-Necked Swan has a red knob near the base of the bill and a white stripe behind the eye. The sexes are similar, with the female being slightly smaller. The cygnets are covered in light grey plumage, and they have a black bill and feet. They will develop the characteristic black neck in their second year.

The Black-Necked Swan is the smallest member of the genus: Cygnus. Its nearest relatives are the Black and Mute Swan, and like their relations, they are mostly silent.

Swans reach sexual maturity between 4 and 7 years of age. However, they can form socially monogamous pair bonds from as early as 20 months of age. These bonds last for many years, and in some cases, they can last for life. The female lays four to six eggs in a mounded nest of vegetation. Both Black-Necked parents regularly carry their cygnets on their backs. Their diet consists of vegetation, insects, and fish spawn.

The Black-Necked Swan is currently listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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Three Swans A-Swimming at the Sao Paulo Zoo


A trio of Black-necked Swans hatched on August 15, 16, and 17 at Brazil's Sao Paulo Zoo.  When the adult Black-necked Swans were unable to incubate their eggs, zoo biologists moved the eggs to an incubator, where they remained for the 35-day incubation period. 

Now that the cygnets have hatched, zoo keepers weigh them daily to monitor their growth.  Every day, the cygnets enjoy sunbathing and practice their swimming skills.

Black-necked Swans are native to South America's lakes and marshes, where they feed on plant material, insect larvae, and other invertebrates.  They nest and lay eggs from June through September.  Both parents participate in building the nest, incubating the eggs, and rearing the cygnets.  Both parents will carry the cygnets on their backs.  Black-necked Swans are the largest waterfowl species in South America.



Photo Credit:  Carlos Nader / Sao Paulo Zoo

Trumpeting the Arrival of Little Cygnets

Trumpeter Swan Cygnets Cleveland Metroparks Zoo 1

Six Trumpeter Swan cygnets were hatched at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo last week. The largest North American bird, Trumpeter Swans vanished from most of the United Sates over 100 years ago due to over hunting and lead poisoning. In 1996 the Ohio reintroduction program was started by the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the Zoo. The father of these new cygnets was part of this program and all six of these cygnets will eventually be released into the wild.

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Black Necked Swan Babies, Just in Time


Just in time for Mother's Day that is...  This weekend, New Jersey's Turtle Back Zoo welcomed the arrival of three white fluffy Black Necked Swan chicks.

Black Necked Swans, native to South America (including the Falkland Islands), are the largest of the species.  They've got short wings but are still able to fly fast. Swan babies are called cygnets. Parents carry cygnets on their backs while swimming, which helps the parents regain the weight they lost in the process of mating, incubating and feeing their brood. Swan eggs are the biggest of any flight bird. Guess that explains how they can look this fluffy upon arrival!


These cygnets will soon turn greyish, developing blacker neck feathers in about three months. They will not sport a true white and black coat until they are two years old. Swans are herbivores and are considered vital in controlling aquatic plant life.


Photo credits: Turtle Back Zoo

Black-Necked Swan Cygnets under Mom's Wing

Displaying none of their parents' signature black neck, these downy white black-necked swan cygnets ventured out onto the pond at the Riverbanks Zoo's Bird Garden after only one day in the nest. Born March 6th, the cygnets will be on display until the fall.

Black Necked Swan Cygnets - Riverbanks Zoo 3 in a row

Black Necked Swan Cygnets - Riverbanks Zoo 3 side by side

While wholly capable of swimming, sometimes it's easier to catch a ride with mom.

Black Necked Swan Cygnets - Riverbanks Zoo under moms wing 2

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