Sunday, October 12, 2008

Black swan and cygnets

The black swan (Cygnus atratus) is a native of Australia. It is also the bird after which the Swan River was named by Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh in 1697. The man explored the river and found large flocks of black swans living in the estuary of the river. But today, they are uncommon on the river.

I saw this black swan with six cygnets when I was cycling along the river with three friends in South Perth on Saturday morning.

As I approached them the swan started to flap its wings, possibly a gesture of aggressiveness. It didn't like me getting too close I guess.

But shortly after, it just went on with its life and ignored me. So I began to take a few nice shots of the family.

The scientific name "atratus" translates into "dressed in black". The tips of the wings are white, as you can also see in the second photo (above).

It has such a long neck that when extended makes it look like a cartoon character.

The cygnets are still covered in light grey down, so they maybe around one month's old or younger. A cygnet will start to have black feathers after about one month of age.

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