The black swan has a body length of up to 142 cm, with the females being smaller than the males. In adults, the body is mostly black, with the exception of broad white wing tips, which are visible in flight. The bill is a deep orange-red, paler at the tip, with a distinct narrow white band towards the end. Younger birds are much greyer in colour, and have black wing tips.
Outside the breeding season, black swans travel quite large distances. Birds fly at night and rest during the day with other swans. The black swan is a vegetarian. Food consists of algae and weeds, which the bird obtains by plunging its long neck into water up to 1 m deep (photo in dualtone).