To stand and watch a black swan gracefully glide by on a still lake must be one of the more peaceful sights you could enjoy in Centennial Parklands.
This large native swan is the world’s only mostly black swan. It has white flight feathers that can best be seen when the bird is in flight. Being a heavy bird they use a long take-off run accompanied by much splashing and frantic flapping to get airborne. Once in the air their white wing feathers show off powerful rhythmic wing beats. They fly with their long necks outstretched and present a distinctive silhouette against the sky. Their bills are red with a white bar near the tip. The male has a longer bill and neck than the female.
Black swans feed on underwater vegetation by up-ending and using their long necks to reach deeper. They can be found in great numbers on large areas of shallow water with aquatic vegetation, lakes, estuaries and flooded pastures. They lose their flight feathers during their moult and will gather in large numbers on secure waters.
Breeding usually takes place from April to October but can occur any time after good rains. The nest is a large pile of mainly reeds in shallow water, on an island or floating among reeds in deeper water. They lay a large clutch of five to six eggs that are incubated for about 40 days.
If the adult leaves the nest the eggs are covered with damp vegetation for protection.
The juvenile birds, called cygnets, are mainly grey with dull white flight feathers and leave the nest after about 150 days.
Black swans are plentiful in Centennial Parklands and you should be able to see them on any of the lakes and ponds.