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18 He aha tērā? Black Swan

Two large black water birds with several white young between them.
Miraz Jordan

They’re so graceful and elegant. Often seen in pairs on the lakes. At the right time of year these large black birds may have a half dozen fluffy white or grey young in tow. He aha tērā? What is that?

Large black water bird with 6 white young.

Photo by Miraz Jordan. Used with permission.

Answer: it’s a kakīānau, black swan:

Identification: Length: 110 - 140 cm; Weight: 5 - 7 kg (male), 4 - 6 kg (female)

Similar species: the only other swan in New Zealand is the larger and all white mute swan, which is very rare.

A large black swan with a bright red bill with a terminal white band, red eyes, and dark grey legs. Females are markedly smaller than males; both sexes have conspicuous white flight feathers.

This item was updated on Wednesday 23 March 2022

I live at Waikawa Beach and love all the wildlife, fauna and flora.