Australian Birds, Australian Wildlife, Wildlife
Comments 8

Black Swan – New Holland Novelty

Black Swan Cygnus atratus Canning River Western Australia

“…en oock geen sonderling gedierte of gevogelte daer ontwaert, als ten principale in die Swaene rivier een soort van swarte swaenen, daer aff er oock drie levendigh tot ons gebragt hebben en wij UEd. gaarne hadden toe gestuurt, maar sij sijn alle een voor een korts naer hun herwaerts comste gestorven” – Iets over de reis van den schipper-commandeur Willem de Vlamingh, naar Nieuw Holland, in 1696

The first black swans (Cygnus atratus) were observed in January 1697 by Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh when venturing on a just discovered river in Western Australia. The black swans were a novelty, as back in those days everyone thought swans were white. The spooked expedition returned to the coast after this unsettling encounter, and baptised the river Swarte Swaenen Rivier (Swan River). The three swans taken on board of the vessels died before the end of the journey, however, a century later French explorer Baudin was more successful, bringing back those beautiful black birds to adorn the imperial gardens of Chateau de Malmaison.


  1. Wow! Amazing picture, the texture of the feathers is indeed really amazing. Just discovered your work and looking forward to seeing more of it! 🙂

    • Thanks so much ladies 😀 We try hard here at iAMsafari and are pleased to hear you like what you’ve seen so far!

  2. I’m sure the travelers from the Northern Hemisphere were astounded by so much of the wildlife in Australia which looked so foreign to what they knew!

    Swarte Swaenen! Bid je aan!

    • The same happened in Africa; the sightings of giraffes at the Cape baffled the crew of The Resolution – the drawings of George Forster on Cook’s second voyage are a great testimony of how animals so common to us were observed by them.

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