This Australian bird is common and widely distributed in Tasmania. The captain of the Banda, Antonie Caen, is the first European to have recorded seeing them back in 1636. This was at Bernier Island near Shark Bay in Western Australia.
There was once a subspecies which lived in New Zealand but is was hunted to extinction prior to European settlement. Australian Black Swans were introduced there in the 19th century and has since thrived.
Interestingly, Black Swan escapees have been reported breeding in Britain. They are not considered to have established a self sustaining population and so the are not officially recognised as an introduced species there. I recall seeing one on several occasions on the Cromarty Firth in northern Scotland where it made a futile effort to blend in with the local Mute Swans :-)
I was impressed by the 178 Black Swans I counted near Bridgewater the other day and no doubt there were many others I could not see. However, Moulting Lagoon, north-east of Swansea supports a much larger population.
Moulting Lagoon regularly supports approximately 8000 black swans Cygnus atrata and up to 15,000 have been recorded during dry periods. It is the most important feeding and breeding habitat for swans in Tasmania.
- Management Plan 2003 - Moulting Lagoon Game Reserve RAMSAR Site. - Depar tment of Tour ism, Ar ts and the Environment