Thursday, 15 July 2010

black swan (Cygnus atratus)

This is one of two black swans (Cygnus atratus) found at the Singapore Botanic Garden's eco-pond. They are found mainly in the wetlands of south western and eastern Australia. Like most other water fowl, black swans tend to lose all their flight feathers at once when they moult after breeding. Hence, they are generally unable to fly for about a month during this time and would usually settle on large, open waters for safety. The ones at SBG have their wings clipped regularly, so there's a slim chance of them flying away any time soon.

Like other swans (but unlike humans), the black swan is generally monogamous, often pairing for life with just a 6% divorce rate. Interestingly, an estimate one-quarter of all pairings are homosexual, mostly between males. They steal nests, or form temporary threesomes with females just to obtain eggs, driving away the female after she has laid them. Talk about being manipulative.

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