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An elaborate ritual precedes and follows mating. Either the male, or the female, may approach its mate with its neck stretched out low over the water, at times dipping it under the surface. This is a cue for its partner to respond with identical behaviour. As the two birds come together, the aquatic ballet begins in earnest. The swans now cross their necks and commence neck-dipping in synchrony for up to 20 minutes, each gracefully curved neck arched over the body of its partner. The copulation that follows this flawless choreographic routine is almost comically clumsy by comparison. The male grasps a tuft of feathers on the female’s neck for purchase and heaves himself laboriously onto her back. Given that he is considerably heavier, his weight causes her to sink beneath the surface. After a few seconds (during which insemination presumably takes place under water) the female extends her neck, calls loudly and struggles to the surface, leaving the male to slide ingloriously back into the water.  John Mewett has taken a remarkable sequence of photographs (see below) documenting this mating ritual.

Posted in: Black swans

 

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Did you know?

An adult male swan is called a cob (from Middle English cobbe (leader of a group). An adult female swan is called a pen, and baby swans are called cygnets (from the Latin word cygnus ("swan") and the Old French suffix -et ("little").
2015-05-11T02:20:03+00:00
An adult male swan is called a cob (from Middle English cobbe (leader of a group). An adult female swan is called a pen, and baby swans are called cygnets (from the Latin word cygnus ("swan") and the Old French suffix -et ("little").

The Black Swan is protected under the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1974. It is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
2015-05-11T02:23:39+00:00
The Black Swan is protected under the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1974. It is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

A colony of Black Swans in Dawlish, Devon has become so well associated with the town that the bird has been the town's emblem for
2015-05-11T02:23:29+00:00
A colony of Black Swans in Dawlish, Devon has become so well associated with the town that the bird has been the town's emblem for

The current global population of black swans is estimated to be up to 500,000 individuals.
2015-05-11T02:23:19+00:00
The current global population of black swans is estimated to be up to 500,000 individuals.

Black swans occur over large parts of Australia, with estimates of their range varying from 1 to 10 million square kilometers.
2015-05-11T02:23:10+00:00
Black swans occur over large parts of Australia, with estimates of their range varying from 1 to 10 million square kilometers.