Black Swan (Cygnus atratus): is a large bird up to 1.4 metres tall with a wing span that may be up to two metres and is probably the best known Australian water bird. Bodies are black with white flight feathers that are visible when at rest and conspicuous in flight. Bill is red with a pale bar and tip. Legs and feet are black.
Black Swans may be observed singly, in pairs or large flocks.
They are found on large bodies of water that may be fresh, brackish or salt. Permanent swamps and lakes with aquatic vegetation are favoured. Black Swans will also occupy ornamental lakes.
The nest is a large pile of grasses, reeds and weeds. They are 1-1.5 metres in diameter. and are constructed in shallow water or on islands. There are 4-7 eggs laid and are greenish-white. Parents become very aggressive when they are caring for cygnets (baby swans). Black Swans are found throughout Australia but favour the moister areas of the south east and south west mainland and Tasmania.
The species has been introduced into New Zealand.
Black Swans puzzled early European explorers who only knew the White Swans of the Northern Hemisphere.