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< >  Cairina moschata - Muscovy duck (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Musky duck
Musk duck
Muscovy
Musky
Moschusente (German)
Canard de Barbarie (French)
Canard musque (French)
Pato criollo (Spanish)
Pato negro (Spanish)

Names for newly-hatched

Duckling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

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References

Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B1, B3, B6, B8, B19, B25, B26.

Aviculture references:
J23.13.w7
B7, B11.33.w1, B29, B30, B94, B97
D1, D8

Other References

 
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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

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Aviculture Information

Notes

General information:
  • Perching Ducks and "geese" are generally happier maintained fully-flighted if possible, for example in an aviary for the smaller species, or under flight netting.
  • While the larger species in this group are hardy, the smaller species may be more delicate and require winter shelter. These species eat a high proportion of vegetable matter and appreciate a grazing area. Most of these species are hole-nesters.
  • Many of these species are sociable outside the breeding season, although Cairina moschata - Muscovy duck, Cairina scutulata - White-winged duck, Pteronetta hartlaubii - Hartlaub's duck and Plectropterus gambensis - Spur-winged goose can all be aggressive and require separate enclosures.

(B7, B11.33.w1, B94, D1)

Species-specific information:

  • Muscovy ducks are reasonably winter-hardy, but should have shelter available in prolonged cold winter weather. They are territorial and aggressive, requiring a separate enclosure.
  • These ducks are easy to breed and prolific. Will make use of various nest boxes: raised, ground-level or buried, also lay in natural vegetation cover. Lay eggs mainly February to September.
  • Hybrids reported with Anas, Anser, Branta spp., also with Alopochen aegyptiacus - Egyptian goose, Sarkidiornis melanotos - Comb duck, Tadorna tadorna - Common shelduck, Plectropterus gambensis - Spur-winged goose.

(J23.13.w7, B29, B30, B94, B97, D1).

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme recommended average ring size: U 22.0mm (males) or S 18.0mm (females) (wild-type only)(D8).

Management Techniques

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 26-33 inches, 66-84cm (B3, B1).
Adult weight General 1.1-4.0kg (B1)
Male 2.0-4.0kg (higher in Cairina moschata domesticus - Domestic Muscovy duck) (B3); mean 6.6 lbs. (B8).
Female 1.1-1.5kg (B3); mean 2.8lbs. (B8).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

Adult Bill Male Pinkish, with black mottling. Base enlarged to form knob. Bare facial skin, black to reddish by bill.
Variations (If present) Female: Pinkish, with black mottling.
Eyes (Iris) Male Yellow-brown.
Variations(If present) --
Juvenile Bill Pinkish, with black mottling.
Eyes (Iris) Yellow-brown.

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Legs

Adult Male Grey-black
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Grey-black

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Plumage

Adult Male Head, neck and body brown-black, with bushy crown feathers and upperparts having green-purple iridescence.

Wing black with white coverts. Increasing area of white with age.

Variations (If present) Domestic form: Much larger, males often unable to fly. Bill knob larger, colouration variable black and white, sometimes grey and white.
Juvenile Duller brown-black with little or no white on the wing.

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Upperparts brown with yellow markings on wings and rump; underparts yellow, brown line behind eye
Bill: Black.
Feet: Yellow marked with grey.

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year Variable, usually during rains (Panama: June; Venezuela:July).
No. of Clutches --

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Nest placement and structure

In tree hollows or cavities, occasionally in dense waterside vegetation, with no or little down lining.

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average --
Range 8-15 (B1, B8).
Egg Description Creamy white or with green sheen.

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Incubation

35 days.

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Hatching

Synchronous.

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Fledging

Perhaps up to 120 days (B1, B8).

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Sexual Maturity

Males --
Females --

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults Dabble, up-end in shallow water, and graze on land.
Newly-hatched --

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building Solitary nest built by female.
Incubation By female only.
Newly-hatched By female only.
Juveniles

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Frequently found in small groups.
Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

No apparent pair bonds.

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Predation in Wild

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Activity Patterns

Roost on large high bare branches.
Circadian Crepuscular: active early morning and evening.

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Natural Diet

Adults

Varied diet: grasses, sedges, Aquatic plants (roots, stems, leaves, and seeds), also small fish and reptiles, and invertebrates (insects, crustaceans, arachnids): Termites are a favoured item.

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Newly-hatched

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal

Tropical Central and South America: Mexico to eastern Peru and northern Uruguay.

Mostly sedentary: small local movements depending on water availability. Some larger movement: recorded in Texas (USA), Trinidad, coastal Peru, Buenos Aires Province (Argentina).

Occasional and Accidental

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Introduced

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Habitat

Lowlands, mainly tropical wooded wetlands, breeding near slow-moving rivers. Occasionally coastal lagoons and swamps in non-breeding season.

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

Hybridises with the domestic form Cairina moschata domesticus - Domestic Muscovy duck.

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Widespread and still locally common in some areas.

CITES listing CITES III in Honduras.
Red-data book listing --
Threats Hunting, habitat destruction, hybridisation with the domestic form Cairina moschata domesticus - Domestic Muscovy duck.

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Captive Populations

Relatively uncommon in the wild form in collections.
Cairina moschata domesticus - Domestic Muscovy duck sometimes hybridises with Anas platyrhynchos domesticus - Domestic duck to produce Anas platyrhynchos domesticus x Cairina moschata domesticus - Mule duck.

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Trade

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