How rare and exotic black swan found a home at Coate Water – Yahoo News UK


It’s one of Swindon’s most exotic tenants – and the Coate Water black swan is thriving.
Living on the lake – and, it seems, making some good friends with the native mute swan population – the recognisable resident is a popular fixture at the beauty spot.
But although the cygnas atratus spends its time with the native British white mute swans, the black swan is not just a dark-coloured version but an entirely different species altogether – as can be seen by its bright red beak.
And it’s a long way from home. Black swans are a native Australian species, especially in Western Australia where they are the state bird.
But being so far from home doesn’t seem to faze Coate’s black swan.
A spokesman for Swindon Borough Council, which owns and runs Coate Water and can be said to be the bird’s landlord, said: “Our ranger team have spoken to our local bird watchers at Coate Water and it would appear the beautiful black swan has been a resident of the park for a few years now.”
And it has made some good friends with a mute and even had young – although it’s not easy to tell which are the black swan’s offspring.
“Since it’s been here it has bred with a mute swan and had several cygnets but these all turned out white in colour,” continued the spokesman. “As far as we’re aware, it has not bred in the most recent mating season.
“We hope this magnificent bird will stay in the park for a long time to come.”
But how did the black swan, which is clearly doing so well, get to be living at Coate Water in the first place?
Although the species originated in Australia there is a small population in the UK.
Individual birds were brought from the then colony of Australia in the 19th century to live on wealthy people’s ponds, rather in the way that many owners of stately homes imported peacocks from Persia to wander the grounds of the estate.
Inevitably some of those black swans escaped from the collections and there is a small wild population.
A study 10 years ago found there were just 37 breeding pairs on the UK –  with mute swans being so well established across the country, there has been little spare habitat and food  to support large populations of black swans – although the species has become the symbol of the town of Dawlish in Devon.
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