Image of Black Swan

To: Philip Veerman <>
Subject: Image of Black Swan
From: David Rees <>
Date: Sun, 8 May 2016 22:52:32 +0000
Black Swans, seen feral ones in southern England hanging round with the much bigger Mute Swans.


On Sun, May 8, 2016 at 5:49 PM, Philip Veerman <> wrote:
Certainly a nice close photo, to which I will comment on this and other comments:

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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