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Cairina moschata

Muscovy Duck

  • Order: Anseriformes
  • Family: Anatidae

Authors: Bribiesca-Formisano, R., C. Rodríguez-Flores, C. Soberanes-González & M.C. Arizmendi

Life History


It is an opportunistic consumer; feeds on stems, seeds, grasses, aquatic plants and leaves, also include small vertebrates as fish and reptiles, and invertebrates such as spiders and crustaceans. It has a special predilection for termites.


It seeks its food splashing in the water, seeking with the bill in shallow water, often also on ground.


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Sexual Behavior

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Social and interspecific behavior

Aggressive behaviors between males are common, when they usually use the wings and legs during the fights. Males make simple displays, which include rising crest, move the tail side to side, partially lifting its wings, and flying in circles.


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Apparently this duck does not form pairs for life, even a male can mate with several females. The female incubates and rears the chicks. Among juvenile predators are crocodiles and pejelagarto (Lepisosteus).

Although the breeding season is variable, most often breed in wet season. It nests solitary, in hollow trees or in small cavities without additional material, between 2 and 18 m above the ground, sometimes nest in dense vegetation on the banks of streams. The clutch size is on average 10 eggs, the eggs are sub-elliptical to oval, white to greenish-white, 63 x 47 mm. Incubation lasts about 35 days. The chicks are precocious, born covered with dark brown down above, yellow face and belly, with a black list on the eye that extends to the neck, relatively long tail, yellow spots on the wings, gray-brown bill, and grayish-yellow legs. Juveniles fly around day 70.

Populations and Demography

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Recommended Citation

Bribiesca-Formisano, R., C. Rodríguez-Flores, C. Soberanes-González & M.C. Arizmendi. 2010. Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: