Black swans may nest at any time of year, although the peak of breeding activity in south-eastern Australia tends to be between June and November.
The nest is a large platform of weeds and other debris, about 1-1.5m in diameter and up to 1m high, usually on islands, in shallow water or at the water’s edge. Nests are not generally re-used, but are built from scratch in each new year.
The clutch contains between 4 and 11 eggs which are pale green-white in colour, and which are laid at intervals of 1-2 days. Incubation typically commences only when the clutch has been completed, and lasts for 35-40 days. The male and the female both contribute to incubation, with the male typically taking the day shift, while the female incubates at night.
Both sexes are highly aggressive in defending the nest and will attack any oncomer with vigorous beats of their powerful wings.
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