Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Black-necked Swan (Cygnus melancoryphus)


French: Cygne à cou noir German: Schwarzhalsschwan Spanish: Cisne cuellinegro

Anas Melancorypha


, 1782,



Sometimes placed in monospecific genus Sthenelides. This species has generally been thought to be closest to C. atratus and C. olor. Specific name has frequently been misspelt (as in HBW)#R. Monotypic.


S South America from Tierra del Fuego and Falkland Is N to C Chile, Uruguay and extreme S Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul); in winter N to São Paulo, in SE Brazil.

Descriptive notes

102–124 cm; male 4600–8700 g, female 3500–4400 g. Unmistakable. Variable white stripe behind eye (sometimes it is completely absent). Female slightly... read more


Generally considered to be silent or almost so outside breeding season. Gives soft, musical “Whee-... read more


Swamps, river basins, freshwater marshes, lagoons of brackish water, shallow lakes and inlets, and... read more

Food and feeding

Eminently vegetarian, mainly stoneworts (Chara) and pondweeds (Potamogeton), as well as other aquatic weeds; also algae... read more


Starts in early spring (Jul–Aug, occasionally Jun), but continues until at least Sept–Nov in far S of range; starts early Aug... read more


Falklands and northern populations relatively sedentary, though movements to favoured estuaries... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. In late 1990s total population perhaps < 100,000 birds. Generally common and widespread; has recolonized parts of Chile... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Black-necked Swan (Cygnus melancoryphus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 14 December 2019).