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Cairina moschata

Muscovy Duck

  • Order: Anseriformes
  • Family: Anatidae
  • Monotypic

Authors: Eitniear, Jack, R. Bribiesca-Formisano, C. Rodríguez-Flores, C. Soberanes-González, and M. C. Arizmendi

Cairina moschata

Águas de São Pedro, Sao Paulo, Brasil; 30 November 2006 © Arthur Grosset

Muscovy Duck is a large and heavily-built, black duck of tropical rivers, ponds and marshes. Muscovy Duck commonly is kept in captivity, and feral populations and free ranging domestic type muscovies now occur well outside its original range (Donkin 1989), which extends from extreme southern Texas and northern Mexico south to northern Argentina. Wild Muscovy also is heavily hunted, and can be very wary; where hunted, these ducks most often are detected in the early morning or late evening when seen flying to and from feeding areas. In flight, Muscovy Duck appears massive, with broad wings and tail; the upperwing coverts of adults are white, and form a broad white wing patch in flight. The diet of Muscovy Duck includes a variety of grains, aquatic vegetation, fruits, nuts, small fish, insects, and crabs. The sexes are similar in plumage, but males are significantly larger than females. Despite its large size, Muscovy Ducks are partially arboreal, roosting in trees, and nesting in tree cavities and nest boxes.

Recommended Citation

Eitniear, Jack, R. Bribiesca-Formisano, C. Rodríguez-Flores, C. Soberanes-González, and M. C. Arizmendi. 2015. Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Resident (nonmigratory)
  • Primary Habitat:
  • Foraging Strata:---
  • Foraging Behavior:---
  • Diet:Omnivorous
  • Sociality:Single-Species Flocks
  • Mating System:---
  • Nest Form:Cavity
  • Clutch: 8 - 15
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern