Yesterday morning nineish, Kelly Swamp, fog lifting, dull light, 4 swans flew in, much honking. They didn’t settle but swam around restlessly, separating into 2 groups of 2. Below picture shows one ‘pair’ swimming rapidly
close together, necks arched. Suddenly fighting broke out within each ‘pair’, very aggressive, mutual pecking and neck-entwining, much spray. They took flight after 20 seconds (photo-timed) with one member of each ‘pair’ chasing the other.
HANZAB says ‘FIGHTING: Rare: occurs in confrontation, if rival fails to move away: beats with fully open wings at rival …’ ‘Neck-fighting’, involving prolonged wrestling with entwined necks, seems to be well-known
among Mute Swans (much YouTube available) but not with Black Swans. Yesterday’s confrontations seemed more the school-yard variety (neck-fighting, wing-striking, biting included) rather than following any particular rule book.