2 Rare Black Swans, Native to Australia, New Zealand Spotted at Rainbow Harbor Off Long Beach

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(KNX 1070) -- A rare sighting was made at Rainbow Harbor, off Long Beach Friday of a pair of black swans. The species is native to Australia and New Zealand. 

Rare sight of black swans, native to Australia, spotted in Rainbow Harbor off Long Beach https://t.co/yTKaEv2SJx pic.twitter.com/0gHvSCwsd8

— L.A. Daily News (@ladailynews) May 10, 2019

The pair was spotted by Harbor Breeze boat captain Erik Combs. He told the Orange County Register he noticed the two larege birds next to the dock on his way out for the morning whale watch. 

He added that at first, he thought they were Canadian geese, but when their heads emerged, he noticed the red bills. He did some investigating and figured out what the birds were. 

“They came a little closer to the dock, they were coming right to us like they were hungry, they were making little honks,” he said. “They were very friendly, it looked like they were someone’s pet.”

Peter Tira, spokesperson for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife told the OC Register, that the wild birds are seen in California on occasion. Tira said they're usually pets of collectors, fanciers, breeders, aviaries, and estates that keep them. Owners are required to have a permit. The pair would cost on average between $2,000 and $3,000, or more. 

It's likely the birds were released by their owners who could not or did not want them any longer.