Black-Necked Swan Cygnets Hatch at Zoo Zurich
June 25, 2015
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.
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.