Image of Black Swan

To: 'Con Boekel' <>, 'canberrabirds chatline' <>
Subject: Image of Black Swan
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Sun, 8 May 2016 07:49:17 +0000
Certainly a nice close photo, to which I will comment on this and other 

The serrations are normal and usually hidden when the beak is closed. I don't 
know if these structures are in the bone at all. I suspect not, (I do have a 
swan's skull in my collection and don't recall seeing this). It is likely to be 
just part of the keratin layer of the beak.  Some cartoonists like to show 
birds with teeth, Daffy Duck I think commonly. Maybe that came from pictures 
like this one. Anyone could easily say it looks like it has teeth but it does 
not, of course.

As you have noticed, there is a bit of cranial kinesis there, although in the 
reverse of what we usually see, as in it is extending the jaw hinge from the 
base (I think anatomically moving the quadrate bone forward without moving the 
palatine bone,) rather than extending the tip.

As for where to find Black Swans outside Aus. They are....... I was a bit 
surprised to see them in a botanical garden adjoining the zoo in Wuhan, China.


-----Original Message-----
From: Con Boekel 
Sent: Sunday, 8 May, 2016 11:29 AM
To: canberrabirds chatline
Subject: Image of Black Swan

This is an unusal image in that it shows the beak serrations which are normally 
not visible. I have searched the readily available on-line databases without 
being able to see something similar. This bird, and what I presume to be its 
partner, were engaging in some mutual behaviour that involved both birds 
sitting absolutely still in the water, facing each other and with the lower 
mandible held closed at the tip but with the serrations showing. I am not sure 
whether the birds had lowered the jaw end of the mandibles or whether this is 
even possible.

Black Swan
Gungahlin Pond
Image captured: 5 May 2016

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