By Nick Enoch
The jet black swan has arrived at Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset and set up home with the resident 600 mute swans - which are all white
This new arrival at an ancient swannery is hoping to stand out from the crowd.
The jet black swan has mysteriously arrived - without an invitation - at Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset and set up home with the resident 600 mute swans, which are all white.
Visitors to the 1,000-year-old attraction have been easily able to spot the large black bird that sticks out like a sore thumb.
But if the newcomer is hoping to make friends with the native swans then it is going the wrong way about it as it is aggressive and dominant by nature.
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If the uninvited newcomer is hoping to make friends with the native swans then it is going the wrong way about it as it is aggressive and dominant by nature
The black swan - Cygnus atratus - is native to Australia and not indigenous to the UK.
But over the last 20 years, they have been imported here and put in private herds.
As their numbers have expanded, the odd one or two have escaped from captivity or been released, which is illegal in the UK.
Black swans are known to kill their young and this specimen’s arrival at Abbotsbury couldn’t have come at a worse time as it is in the middle of the hatching season there.
Staff have vowed to catch the interloper and find it a new home if it looks like it will pose a threat to the baby swans.
They are also on the lookout for a second black swan as a breeding pair could cause havoc with Britain’s wildlife and environment.
Steve Graves, the deputy swanherd, said: 'Black swans were brought over from Australia after they were discovered but they have mainly been kept in captivity.
'But in the last 20 years, their numbers in the wild have grown after they have escaped or been released and have started breeding.
'The mute swans are avoiding the new arrival. Though the black swan is smaller, they are dominant and aggressive.
'They out-compete the mute swans and have been known to kill their young. If we were having problems, we would catch the black swans and find them new homes.
'Black swans aren’t allowed to be in the wild. If this pair had eggs, we would have to seize them and cage them and prevent them from flying away.'
The black swan - Cygnus atratus - is native to Australia and not indigenous to the UK
Staff have vowed to catch the interloper and find it a new home if it looks like it will pose a threat to the baby swans
Abbotsbury Swannery has been tending the native species - Cygnus olor in Latin - since the 11th century.
Documents recording the hatchings go back to 1393, while swans have been herded there for 1,000 years.
Unlike most swans, these are not owned by the Queen as they were sold by Henry VIII to the Earls of Abbotsbury.
Traditionally, the first swan of the year hatching at Abbotsbury marks the beginning of summer.
Abbotsbury Swannery has been tending the native species - Cygnus olor in Latin - since the 11th century. Seen here in 1936
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Bet he's ruffled a few feathers... Black swan stands out after gatecrashing group of 600 white ones at ancient swannery
By Nick Enoch