Now we all know that swans are white with yellow beaks, except for the Black ones with red beaks.
Black swans are… well, they’re black. Apart from their red beak and their white flight feathers.
These Anitpodean erratic nomads, common in the wetlands of south western and eastern Australia, have been introduced into Europe as an ornamental water bird, where escapes are not uncommon. There are not sufficient breeding pairs for them to be self-sustaining in the UK. However, the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust have recorded 9 breeding pairs in the UK.
Like other swans they are monogamous, mostly, and will pair for life. Apparently one quarter of all pairings are same-sex swans, usually males, and they will steal nests or form a menage a trois with a female until the eggs are laid when they will chase the female away.
Black swans have the longest neck, relatively speaking, of all swans and it is beautifully curved.
The pair at the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust Centre in Martin Mere have recently hatched two eggs. When I visited them the pen (female) was sitting on the nest, while the male (cob) was displaying near the fence, fending off onlookers.
I came back an hour later, and was rewarded with the sight of the family grazing.
The Black swan is mostly herbivorous, eating submerged algae, aquatic plants and as here grazing on grass.