Muscovy Duck Cairina moschata

  • Order: Anseriformes
  • Family: Anatidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Jack C. Eitniear, R. Bribiesca-Formisano, Claudia I. Rodríguez-Flores, Carlos A. Soberanes-González, and Marîa del Coro Arizmendi


Geographic Variation

None documented; Cairina moschata is monotypic.

Related Species

Described as Anas moschata Linneaus 1758; India given as the original type locality, Brazil substituted by Berlepsch and Hartert 1902.

The genus Cairina was proposed by Fleming 1822, with moschata as the type species. White-winged Duck (Asarcornis scutulata) of southeast Asia formerly also was classified in Cairina, but now has been shown to be only distantly related to Muscovy (Gonzalez et al. 2009); hence Cairina is monotypic.

This species was formerly placed into the paraphyletic "perching ducks" assemblage, but subseguently moved to the dabbling duck subfamily Anatinae. The relationships of Cairina remain unresolved. Phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data, from both mitochondrial and nuclear genes, indicate that Cairina is sister to Aix (Johnson and Sorenson 1999, Gonzalez et al. 2009, Bulgarella et al. 2010). The phylogenetic position of Cairina + Aix remains unresolved, however. Johnson and Sorenson (1999) and Gonzalez et al. (2009), for example, suggested that these taxa are sister to Tadornini (Gonzalez et al. 2009), whereas Bulgarella et al. (2010) did not discover a relationship to Tadornini, instead reporting that Cairina + Aix were basal to a broad suite of ducks, including Anas, Aythya, and many other genera.

Recommended Citation

Eitniear, J. C., R. Bribiesca-Formisano, C. I. Rodríguez-Flores, C. A. Soberanes-González, and M. d. C. Arizmendi (2015). Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.