Fun Musk Duck Facts For Kids

Mellisa Nair
Nov 16, 2022 By Mellisa Nair
Originally Published on Aug 29, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
Fun musk duck facts for kids.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.6 Min

The Anatidae family consists of aquatic birds including swans, geese, and ducks. Their cosmopolitan distribution occupies all continents except Antarctica.

Introduced in 1820 by William Elford Leach, an English zoologist, and marine biologist, it consists of over 170 species and 43 genera. This article will tell you everything you need to know about a special duck belonging to the Anatidae family including its conservation status, range, feeding, breeding, and nesting habits, clutch size,

The musk duck is an aquatic bird native to southern and western Australia.

It is the only living member of the genus Biziura. The musk duck (Biziura lobata) is an endemic Australian bird species, its range is limited but it is very common in the south and north Australia.

Adult musk ducks have a uniform dark plumage and the sexes can be differentiated by the size and color of their body, as male ducks are generally larger and females have a lighter plumage.

These Australian birds remain in the water all day and night, floating effortlessly, twisting-turning, making movements with their feet and tail in the water, but they often come out and display an awkward behavior on dry land.

Its tail plays a vital role during the mating season as its movement conveys the bird's readiness to mate and reproduce, there are about 3-10 eggs in one clutch. The movements usually include fanning the tail's feathers over its back, splashing water to produce loud sounds, and inflating the floppy lobe.

It has a large, dark-gray, leathery, and floppy lobe of skin suspended below its bill, its tail is long and stiff, fine spots on the head, and webbed feet placed far back on its body.

Learn about some other birds from our sanderling facts and green heron facts pages.

Musk Duck Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a musk duck?

The musk duck is a bird belonging to the Animalia kingdom.

What class of animal does a musk duck belong to?

This duck belongs to the Aves class and is the only member of the genus Biziura. 

How many musk ducks are there in the world?

The accurate population size of this species is unknown. However, these ducks are common throughout southern Queensland, and parts of Western Australia.

Where does a musk duck live?

These birds are endemic to north-western Australia. The musk duck range occupies south and north areas of southern Queensland, Victoria, and Tasmania.

What is a musk duck's habitat?

Their habitat includes deep freshwater lagoons, lakes, wetlands, open water, and reed beds. These ducks often slip their head below the surface water, sometimes without causing a single ripple, and stay submerged for a few minutes before they resurface again.

They feel most at home when they are underwater, therefore they only resurface for a few moments and diving again.

Some researchers speculate that this behavior was developed by the species to forage, avoid predators, and unwanted company. They can dive around 20 ft (6 m) deep into the water.

Who do musk ducks live with?

These birds usually dislike the company of any sort but are often spotted in pairs before and after the breeding season. These birds may also gather in medium to larger groups during winters to keep each other and the juveniles warm.

How long does a musk duck live?

These ducks have a good life span and live up to 20 years or more in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

This species is seasonally monogamous. The breeding season depends on the water level, rainfall, and climatic conditions of its range.

But it typically begins mid-July and ends in late September or early October. Before the breeding season begins, male musk ducks try to impress and attract female ducks by displaying several acts including splashing water with their feet and fanning out their feathers.

Vocal acts include repetitive calls, which generally follow a pattern or sequence- two soft notes, followed by a sharp 'cuc cuc' note, a deep grunt, and a loud whistle. This display of acts is carried out regardless of time, during the day or the night, and it can last up to 25 minutes!

During the breeding season, the floppy leather-like lobe under a male's bill swells up and appears almost disconnected from the vocal cavities to make them look more appealing.

Their mating and breeding habits are said to be similar to the kakapo bird.

After mating female ducks look for a safe and secluded spot for nesting, which usually is away from land, dense reeds, or under the cover of low-hanging shrubbery, a hollow log, and some other unique places such as under an upturned boat, and on a tree stump!

The nest is cup-shaped and lined with twigs and other fine plant materials, and is well hidden.

The females do not forage or search for food far while building their nest and survive on whatever is within their reach. The clutch size is unknown as it varies from 3 - 10 eggs in one clutch occasionally depending on various factors affecting the birds during the season.

These eggs are plain-colored.

The female carefully slips away from the nest to search for food, and submerges into the water in the night, not resurfacing until she is away from her nest, to keep the nest's location a secret. Male musk ducks play no part in building the nest or raising the young.

After hatching a musk duck chick can swim and dive within a few days, they stay close to their mother for a few months until they are juveniles.

What is their conservation status?

 The IUNC Red List of Threatened Species has classified them as species of Least Concern.

Musk Duck Fun Facts

What do musk ducks look like?

The adult male has a distinctively larger body, has a long stiff tail and dark black-gray plumage, a leather-like lobe underneath its bill, and dark brown feathers, whereas the female has a slight lean and smaller body, with dark brown-black plumage, shorter tail, and don't have a pendulous lobe. Both sexes have large, webbed feet.

The young ducklings have fine dark brown spots on their head, an under-developed lobe, and a duller plumage compared to the adults.

Interesting facts about the musk duck.

How cute are they?

This bird has a unique appearance but is not considered cute. Except for the musk duck duckling, it looks adorable because it's covered with fine brown spots and small size

How do they communicate?

These ducks are usually silent. A female may produce a soft quack or croak when frightened and has a shrill call to communicate with the ducklings. Male ducks, on the other hand, display courtship by performing various acts to attract a female, splashing water and producing a loud whistle sound, this can last an entire night!

How big is a musk duck?

An adult musk grows up to 24-36.2 in (61-92 cm) in size.

These ducks are nearly seven times bigger than a European robin.

How fast can a musk duck fly?

These birds rarely fly, for several reasons such as having a hard time taking off, landing is haphazard and clumsy due to the structure of their feet. These birds are excellent swimmers, divers and are adapted to float effortlessly on the water surface.

However, when needed these ducks can fly long distances, with swift movements and rapid but shallow wing beats.

How much does a musk duck weigh?

Male musk ducks weigh about 5.2 lb (2.3 kg) whereas the females weigh 3.4 lb (1.5 kg). The smallest females weigh only 2.1 lb (0.9 kg) and some larger males can weigh up to 6.9 lb (3.1 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female members of the species are simply denoted as males and females.

What would you call a baby musk duck?

A baby musk duck is called a young duckling or a chick.

What do they eat?

The regular diet of these ducks includes water beetles, freshwater snails, shellfish, aquatic insects, fish, and a variety of aquatic plants.

Crocodiles often prey on them, and various other predators like owls, wombats, and snakes steal the contents of their nests.

Are they poisonous?

No, they are not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes! If raised correctly, and when used to human company, these ducks can make great pets. They're easy to care for, don't have any special requirements other than providing them with food, water, and adequate space.

Did you know...

An extinct relative, the New Zealand musk duck known from its prehistoric subfossil bones, was about 8% longer than the current living species, and prominent large head.

On average, these ducks are the second heaviest diving or aquatic duck species in the world after the common eider.

Ducks in general have legs that are placed far back on the body to help them swim and dive effortlessly. The largest duck in the world is the Muscovy duck.

How did the musk duck get its name?

The Australian musk duck gets its common name from the strong musk odor produced by a gland on its rump, which is usually secreted during the breeding season

Are musk ducks endangered?

These ducks are sometimes shot by hunters for their meat, but mostly for entertainment as the meat does not taste good and is priced low.

Their numbers having been decreasing and struggling to recover due to habitat loss, caused by various factors such as clearing and draining of wetlands, and widespread rise in Australian water salinity levels. Even though their population size is stable at the moment, necessary steps need to be taken to prevent their status to change as Vulnerable or Near Threatened.

Beginning with conservation of their natural habitat!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Australian pelican facts and reddish egret facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable musk duck coloring pages.

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Written by Mellisa Nair

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and English Literature

Mellisa Nair picture

Mellisa NairBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and English Literature

Specializing in the creation of SEO-friendly content, Mellisa brings enthusiasm and expertise to our team. Her work in digital marketing and social media is complemented by her academic background in economics and English literature, as she holds a Bachelor's degree in these subjects from Wilson College Chowpatty, Mumbai. Mellisa's experience working with clients from various industries, including retail, education, and technology, reflects her ability to adapt her skills to different contexts and audiences.

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Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali Rawat picture

Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

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