Rare black swan spotted in Leeds Liverpool Canal - and locals have given her a nickname

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A black swan considered to be highly rare in England has been spotted 9,000 miles from home on the canal in Leeds.

The stunning bird was seen gliding along the Leeds Liverpool Canal at Rodley and plodding about among a flock of Canada geese near to the nature reserve.

A black swan nicknamed 'Sophie' has been spotted on the Leeds Liverpool Canal at Rodley

A black swan nicknamed 'Sophie' has been spotted on the Leeds Liverpool Canal at Rodley

Black swans are usually only seen in southern regions of Australia, but exist in small populations in small pockets of the south of England after they were introduced in the 1800s.

A small number also exist on the River Tees near Stockton upon Tees.

The lone female swan was spotted frolicking about with the geese near to the Owl Swing Bridge on the canal on Friday.

Nicknamed 'Sophie' by local conservationists, the bird has soon gained a small celebrity status.

A black swan nicknamed 'Sophie' has been spotted on the Leeds Liverpool Canal at Rodley

A black swan nicknamed 'Sophie' has been spotted on the Leeds Liverpool Canal at Rodley

The origins of Sophie the swan at Rodley are unknown after she appeared over the New Year period, although since appearing she as been seen to be spending time making friends with the local geese.

Black swans are characterised by their black plumage and red bills and are an unusual species due to a quarter of families being parented by homosexual mates, usually males.

A black swan nicknamed 'Sophie' has been spotted on the Leeds Liverpool Canal at Rodley

A black swan nicknamed 'Sophie' has been spotted on the Leeds Liverpool Canal at Rodley