The Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)

I photographed this beautiful Black Swan on 03/09/2011 inside the Wildlife Habitat area while staying at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Amid the neon lights, slot machines and the hustle and bustle of the Strip less than 300 feet away, the Flamingo offers an oasis that will make you feel like you have been transported to a tropical island. Full of photo opportunities, the habitat is filled with lush foliage imported from around the world including many varieties of pines, palms and magnolia. As you stroll its winding walkways alongside streams and waterfalls, or on bridges over lagoons and ponds, you get to view more than 300 birds, including Impeyn and silver pheasants, Gambel's quail, a Crown crane, two ibis, various swans, ducks and parrots, Chilean flamingos, African penguins, turtles, Japanese koi, albino channel catfish, plus grackle birds, house sparrows, mallard ducks and hummingbirds in the menagerie.

Description: Black Swans are primarily black-feathered birds, with white flight feathers. The bill is bright red, with a pale bar and tip; and legs and feet are greyish-black. Cobs (males) are slightly larger than pens (females), with a longer and straighter bill. Cygnets (immature birds) are a greyish-brown with pale-edged feathers. A mature Black Swan measures between 43–56 inches in length and weighs anywhere from 8 to 20 lbs. Its wing span can be between 5 to 6-1/2 feet. Their curved “S” shaped neck is the longest neck among the swan family. Generally it utters a musical and far reaching bugle-like sound, but can also make a softer crooning notes. It can also whistle, especially when disturbed while breeding and nesting. When swimming, Black Swans hold their necks arched or erect, and often carry their feathers or wings raised in an aggressive display. In flight, a wedge of Black Swans will form as a line or a V, with the individual birds flying strongly with undulating long necks, making whistling sounds with their wings and baying, bugling or trumpeting calls. E-P1030136