Black-necked swan

(Cygnus melancoryphus)


Black-necked swan IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

A smaller swan with a body-weight of about 5.4 kg in males and 4 kg in females.

The plumage of the body is white, head and neck are black with a thin white stripe across the eye. A red knob or carbuncle at the base of the grey bill is enlarged in males at breeding season.

The black-necked swan has short wings, but still is a fast flyer.

Breeding season is from July to November. The female lays 4 to 7 cream-coloured eggs, in a bulky nest, which may be partially floating. The eggs are incubated for 36 days exclusively by the female. The young are light grey in colour and have black bills and feet. They obtain their black and white coat in their second year of life.

Did you know?
that swan parents will carry cygnets on their back while swimming, enabling the parents to regain weight lost to the rigours of mating, egg laying, incubation, simultaneous feeding, and brooding? This practice also provides protection for the downy cygnets.


Class AVES
Suborder ANSERES
Name (Scientific) Cygnus melancoryphus
Name (English) Black-necked swan
Name (French) Cygne à cou noir
Name (German) Schwarzhalsschwan
Name (Spanish) Cisne cuellinegro
Local names Brasil: Cisne-de-pescoço-preto
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Appendix II (as Anatidae spp.)



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Range South America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Falkland Islands, Paraguay, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Uruguay, and vagrants to Antarctica.
Habitat Shallow sea and freshwater wetland including bogs, marshes, swamps, fens, peatlands, lakes, estuaries.
Wild population The global population is estimated to be 26,000 to 100,000 individuals by Wetlands International (2002).
Zoo population 299 reported to ISIS (2006).

In the Zoo

Black-necked swan


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 17 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Teun Spaans

Why do zoos keep this animal

The black-necked swan is not a threatened species. Zoos keep them for educational purposes e.g. in themed South American exhibits, and as an ambassador species for wetland conservation.