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Swan Dance 3
Photograph - Digital Images
Capture of an Australian Black Swan.
© Image Copyright 2012 Stuart Media Services All Rights Reserved.
Before the arrival of the Māori in New Zealand, a subspecies of the Black Swan known as the New Zealand Swan had developed in the islands, but was apparently hunted to extinction. In 1864, the Australian Black Swan was introduced to New Zealand as an ornamental waterfowl, and populations are now common on larger coastal or inland lakes, especially Rotorua Lakes, Lake Wairarapa and Lake Ellesmere, and the Chatham Islands. Black Swans have also naturally flown to New Zealand, leading scientists to consider them a native rather than exotic species, although the present population appears to be largely descended from deliberate introductions.
The Black Swan is also very popular as an ornamental waterbird in western Europe, especially Britain, and escapes are commonly reported. As yet the population in Britain is not considered to be self-sustaining and so the species is not afforded admission to the official British List, but the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust have recorded a maximum of nine breeding pairs in the UK in 2001, with an estimate of 43 feral birds in 2003/04.
A colony of black swans in Dawlish, Devon has become so well associated with the town that the bird has been the town's emblem for forty years.
June 26th, 2012
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