Black-necked Swan




Black-necked Swan in South America

Scientific name: Cygnus melanocoryphus

Family: Anatidae

Spanish name: Cisne cuello negro

Migration: Partial Neotropical migrant

Population estimate: 25,000-100,000 ([1])

Trend: Stable ([1])

Ramsar Criterion 6 (1% level): 1,000 ([1])

IUCN Conservation status: Not known to have unfavourable conservation status


Distribution and abundances

Distributes in southern South America, in Argentina, Uruguay and south-central Chile, south to Tierra del Fuego and Malvinas / Falkland Islands. Breeds mainly in the Pampas and in low valleys along the southern Andes, reaching the south of Brazil and Paraguay during the non-breeding season. Highest abundances recorded within the Pampas, western Patagonia and along the coastal plain of Uruguay and Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil (link to Abundances map). Sites reaching the 1% threshold (Ramsar Convention Criterion No. 6) are: Lago Muster, Laguna Blanca, Laguna Llancanelo (estimate of 30,000 birds) and Otamendi in Argentina, Laguna de Rocha (estimate of > 7,000 birds), Laguna de Castillos and Bañados de los Indios in Uruguay, and Río Cruces, Estero el Yali, Lago Budi, Laguna Torca, Laguna del Rey and Seno Última Esperanza in Chile.


Migration and seasonality

After breeding some of the southern Patagonia populations migrate north, reaching southern Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina and Chile. Migration occurs mainly along the East, Central and West Patagonia Routes. Opportunistic movements were also reported in relation to drought conditions in Patagonia. Non-breeders appear to concentrate in large flocks to molt in some large lakes and big rivers along the foothills of the Andes in southern Patagonia (link to Seasonality map).



Inland wetlands, including lagoons and ponds, fresh-water marshes and blackish lakes, mainly sectors with rich submergent vegetation. Also recorded in shallow coastal areas, including marine beaches, river mouths and estuaries, specially during drought times.



Habits and interactions with human activities

Low overlapping with human activities. Introduction of exotic fishes in lakes of Patagonia has reduced the number of breeding pairs. In some lakes potential contact with poultry.



Blanco, D.E. & M. Carbonell (Eds.). 2001. El Censo Neotropical de Aves Acuáticas. Los primeros 10 años: 1990-1999. Wetlands International, Buenos Aires, Argentina & Ducks Unlimited, Inc. Memphis, USA.

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Menegheti, J.O., F. Rilla & M.I. Burger. 1990. Waterfowl in South America: their status, trends and distribution. In Matthews, G.V.T. (ed.): Managing Waterfowl Populations: 97-103. Proc. IWRB Symposium, Astrakhan 1989. IWRB Publ. 12. Slimbridge, UK.

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Olrog, C.C. 1968. Las aves sudamericanas: Una guía de campo. Tomo I. Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Fundación - Instituto Miguel Lillo, Tucumán, Argentina.

Rodríguez Mata, J., F. Erize & M. Rumboll. 2006. Guía de Campo Collins – Aves de Sudamérica: No Passeriformes. Harper Collins Ltd.

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Woods, R.W. & Anne Woods. 1997. Atlas of Breeding birds of the Falkland Islands. Anthony Nelson, England. 190 pp.




Authors: Daniel E. Blanco, Román Baigún & Bernabé López-Lanús

Data compiler: Ignacio Roesler

Photographer: Roberto Güller

Recommended citation: Blanco D.E., R. Baigún & B. López-Lanús. 2008. Black-necked Swan in South America factsheet. Wetlands International for the Global Avian Influenza Network for Surveillance / WCS / USAID.



([1] ) South America population; not including the Falkland / Malvinas Islands (900-1,800 birds).




Click on the link to download the factsheet in pdf format: Black-necked Swan



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