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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Did You Know? Amazing Muscovy Duck Facts

Muscovy Duck Facts, Ducks that don't quack.

The Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata) is a bird species that is the largest of ducks and resembles geese. They are the strong ones in the waterfowl family. Black Muscovy Duck and brown Muscovy Duck are generally found both in wild and domestic areas, but rarely can you see white Muscovy Duck and blue Muscovy Duck. They have a large wingspan of 54-60 in. They have long, flat tails, and feet have sharp claws for gripping trees. They have red warty skin around their eyes that is specific to this species. Sexual dimorphism can be observed with males larger than females. These birds spend a good amount of their time perched in trees. These ducks can also fly. The Cairina moschata is also known as Barbary ducks or mute ducks, and these are the only domestic ducks not derived from Mallard stock. This breed is native to Mexico and Central and South America. Read on to learn about Muscovy Ducks.

Do go through Harlequin duck and duck facts if you like this article.

Muscovy Duck Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Muscovy duck?

Muscovy Ducks are the largest of all the ducks in the world. Some believe they are more related to geese than ducks. It has a distinctive red bill and also has a caruncle. They are very social and spend daytime grazing, and dawns and dusks are spent dabbling in the water. They prefer trees over water bodies.

What class of animal does a Muscovy duck belong to?

The Muscovy Duck belongs to Aves class. This duck belongs to the dabbling duck subfamily, which means it feeds mainly at the surface and does not dive for food. The scientific name of the Muscovy Duck is Cairina moschata. The strongest of the waterfowl species, they prefer flying to swimming.

How many Muscovy ducks are there in the world?

Muscovy Ducks are found in their habitats in abundance and are also widely domesticated. The wild populations are declining because of the cross-breeding or hybridization with the other ones. Yet, the decline in the populations is not a thing to worry about at present but needs to be considered as there is also habitat loss for the wild Muscovy Duck. However, these are now bred in many zoos around the world.

Where does a Muscovy duck live?

The Muscovy Ducks prefer wetlands, lakes, and swamps found in Mexico and Central and South America. A domesticated Muscovy can also be found in Florida and lower Rio Grande valleys of Texas and parts of North America. It builds its nest in mature tree cavities and hollows for laying its eggs, 10-65 ft above the ground and sometimes on the ground in dense vegetation near water.

What is a Muscovy duck's habitat?

The Muscovy Duck is a tropical bird and survives in temperatures as low as 10 °F (−12 °C). These species breed well even in colder climatic conditions. These birds usually inhabit wet forests, forested swamps, wetlands, lakes, rivers, streams, and nearby grassland and farm crops. They like to perch on trees with sharp claws on their wide feet.

Who do Muscovy ducks live with?

Muscovy Ducks are very social and friendly birds. These birds are seen in pairs or small groups and do well along with other birds like ducks, chickens. The birds have been domesticated for centuries and are compatible living with humans. It is observed that if they wander away from their flock in the wild or are kept in cages in the zoos, they can get lonely and stop eating.

How long does a Muscovy duck live?

The Muscovy Duck lifespan is seven to eight years. These birds do pretty well, even in very cold climatic conditions. At the same time, the domestic ones can live up to 20 years under healthier breeding conditions. Males stay with the females to raise their ducklings that stick together for 60-70 days.

How do they reproduce?

Muscovy Ducks are polygynous. The male Muscovy Duck force copulates the female ducks causing them harm and sometimes drowning the females since they copulate on water. These birds reach sexual maturity in 28-29 weeks, and the Muscovy Duck breeding season is between August-May. The females lay an egg clutch of 8-16 eggs. The Muscovy Duck incubation period of its egg is 35 days. Muscovy Duck chicks are born fully developed (precocial) and start feeding on their own very early after the ducklings hatch from the eggs. Both males and females take care of their ducklings, just like a family, for about 60-70 days before they are independent.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN Red List, Muscovy Ducks' conservation status is Least Concern. But the populations are decreasing in the wild. The domestic populations, however, are faring well under proper breeding conditions. These waterfowl are now seen in zoos across the world because they are well adapted to tropical and colder climates.

Muscovy Duck Fun Facts

What do Muscovy ducks look like?

Muscovy Ducks are large ducks with long necks and look like geese. They have a wide flat tail and sometimes the Muscovy duck colors are variations of lavender and blue. The females are comparatively smaller than the males, and both have warty red faces. Wild ones look aggressive, but they are raised as livestock and are more friendly and quirky.

The Muscovy duck is a red-faced duck that can really fly.

How cute are they?

Muscovy Ducks are cute in appearance. Their colors are very varied and vibrant. With a large wingspan with white stripes on the dark feathers, they look beautiful. They are lovingly called puppy ducks, as they wag their tail when they are happy.

How do they communicate?

Muscovy Ducks communicate by bobbing their heads up and down and wagging their tails. They do not make quack and hissing sounds to communicate. Muscovy Duck sounds are very low-pitched. During mating season, males raise their crest to establish dominance over other males and attract females. The females produce a cooing or trilling noise to call out for their young ones. Sometimes audible noises are produced when the ducks are in large groups.

How big is a Muscovy duck?

The average size of the Muscovy Duck ranges from 26-33 in (66-84 cm). They can be 27.5-29.5 in (70-75 cm) tall with a wingspan of 54-60 in (137-152 cm). This duck species is the largest North American duck. They look like a small goose, being greater in size than the common mallard and smaller than a Canada goose.

How fast can a Muscovy duck fly?

The exact speed at which they fly is unknown, but unlike other ducks, they can fly. They have a large wingspan of 54-60 in. The sight of a Muscovy duck flying is worth it. These birds' wings are clipped to prevent them from flying far off when raised as livestock and they can be seen perching on rooftops, fences, chicken coops, and sheds.

How much does a Muscovy duck weigh?

A Muscovy Duck weighs between 6.6-15 lb. The male is comparatively bigger than the female. Domesticated Muscovy ducks can sometimes grow bigger than wild ones. They are bred for their meat, which is tastier than other mallards. The eggs of domestic ducks are also larger, and these eggs are also delicious.

What are their male and female names of the species?

The male is known as drake, and the female Muscovy Ducks are called ducks or sometimes duck-hens. The male is larger and has more colors in its feathers than the female. A male can also be distinguished by their sheer larger size than the female and dominant caruncle.

What would you call a baby Muscovy duck?

A baby Muscovy is called a duckling, and a group of ducks can be called a raft, team, or paddling. An interesting thing about Muscovy Duck egg-laying habits or Muscovy duck nesting habits is that a Muscovy Duck, female predominantly, sticks around a single nest in its lifetime. All the ducklings from single female Muscovy Duck eggs hatch in the same nest, generally in the wild tree cavities. The domestic ones nest in nest boxes.

What do they eat?

The Muscovy Duck is omnivorous. The Muscovy Duck diet consists of plant material also. Muscovy Duck food primarily includes crustaceans, small fish, amphibians, reptiles, insects, and millipedes. They are specially considered good at controlling pests in domestic areas. They also eat ticks, flies, crickets, caterpillars, grasshoppers, maggots, mosquitoes, and snails.

Are they friendly?

Though the Muscovy Duck has been domesticated, they are often aggressive. Though the domestic ones are more friendly, the bad part of these ducks is that they are also messy, leaving their droppings everywhere. Understanding Muscovy Duck behavior is essential before bringing them in.

Would they make a good pet?

The opinion on whether a Muscovy is a good pet is divided. Though this species is domesticated, having one as a pet is a personal choice. Some find them attractive, and some find them awkward. At the same time, some find them helpful in controlling the insect populations, while others find it messy with their droppings. While some people feel this species very aggressive, few feel they are intelligent and quirky. So raising Muscovy Duck is a personal choice, but these are traded as exotic pets.

Did you know...

Feral Muscovy Ducks are found in Australia, New Zealand, and Europe though they are not native in these regions.

The black feathers with white wing patches of the male are iridescent in the sunlight.

Mating of a Muscovy Duck with a Pekin produces a sterile mule duck. Mule means it can not have offspring.

Foie gras is a delicacy made of duck's liver fattened by force-feeding it. Mule ducks are specially bred as they are the most popular foie gras source.

The best way of making foie gras is by pan-searing it. Sear it on both sides in a medium-hot pan, seasoned with salt and pepper until the knife digs into it smoothly. A grapefruit-Chardonnay sauce and apple puree or a sweet strawberry and butter dressing may be added for that extra flavor. This elegant appetizer is very easy and quick to make. Also, the Muscovy Duck breast prepared similarly tastes great. Pomegranate-glazed and tea-smoked breasts are also popular dishes.

Why do Muscovy ducks have red faces?

The red patches on the face of Muscovy Ducks are called caruncles. This red warty skin around their eyes makes them easy to identify. The oil glands in these caruncles are essential as the oil from them, when rubbed all over the feathers while grooming themselves, keeps the bird protected in the water.

What do Muscovy ducks do when happy?

Muscovy Ducks express their emotions by bobbing their tails and waging their wide tails. The wagging of the tails is almost similar to that of a dog wagging its tail when in a good mood. When upset, angry, or threatened, these Muscovy Ducks can make a quiet quack or croak. Sometimes females make a shrilling sound when frightened, and males do puff up and make a hissing sound. They nibble on each other to show affection.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including common merganser, or shrike.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our muscovy duck coloring pages.

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