A Muscovy Duck is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Muscovy Ducks. We have also put together a list of fun Muscovy Duck t-shirts, Muscovy Duck bird patches, birdhouses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers, and other fun bird-watching items.
About Muscovy Ducks
Muscovy Ducks (Cairina Moschata) are wild tropical birds that are native to North and Central America as well as Mexico. These birds are often bred as domestic ducks.
Description and Identification
Muscovy Ducks are large, heavy-bodied ducks at a length of 26 – 33 inches with long necks
that make them resemble small geese. Their bills and tails are relatively long, and they have
a wingspan of roughly 54 – 60 inches. As with most ducks, the males are slightly larger than
the females. The wild individuals are also usually larger than the domesticated ones. Wild
Muscovy Ducks are primarily black; Adult males have large white patches on their wings
while the juveniles have smaller white wing patches. Their black feathers can emit a green
gloss under bright light. Domesticated Muscovy Ducks have variable plumes, often having
large patches of white to brown. All varieties have red facial skin that can showcase wart-like
Muscovy Duck Color Pattern
Typically, these ducks are mostly black, however, young ducklings have small white patches on their wings whereas the adult males’ white patch is significantly larger. When hit with proper lighting, their black feathers look very glossy and to an extent, glossy.
Muscovy Duck Size
These birds are large, heavy bodies ducks whose long necks make them resemble small geese. The relative size for both sexes is:
- Length: 26.0-33.1 in (66-84 cm)
- Weight: 70.2-141.1 oz (1990-4000 g)
- Wingspan: 53.9-59.8 in (137-152 cm)
Muscovy Duck Behavior
- Muscovy Ducks are very shy, frightful, and wary birds.
- In a bid to show their playful nature and to scare off predators, Muscovy Ducks wag their tails and make low-pitched sounds.
- These birds often fly in groups during dusk and dawn.
- Even though they can fly, the male ducks rarely get far off the ground.
Muscovy Duck Food
These ducks eat both plants and animal matter. In wetlands, they mainly feed on grasses,
sedges, water lily seeds, mangrove seeds, and tubers. Their animal prey includes insect
larvae and adults, spiders, crustaceans, mollusks, worms, and small fish and reptiles.
Tropical populations have included termites into their diet, obtaining them by breaking open
termite mounds with their bills. Ducks present near agricultural lands will forage in farm fields
and feed on corn and other grains, while many urban populations receive food from
These omnivorous birds’ diet includes animal materials including crustaceans, termites, small fish, and small reptiles and plant material including tree leaves, stems, and roots. They also feed on aquatic plant seeds and agricultural crops.
They forage for their food in shallow ponds, wetlands, and lagoons.
Muscovy Duck Habitat
These birds can be found in coastal and lowland habitats from Mexico to Argentina.
Following the expansion of their range in the 1980s, they can be found in the heavily
forested areas of the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. They breed in wooded habitats near
lakes, lagoons, mangrove swamps, marshes, and slow-moving streams, but have been
observed to use nest boxes if available. While they prefer freshwater wetlands, they will nest
in brackish wetlands as well if necessary. The domestic varieties of these birds are found in
ponds throughout many states in the United States.
They live in tree nest cavities and forested wetlands.
Range and Migration
Muscovy Ducks are large ducks that are native to Mexico, Central America, and South
America. They are forest dwellers that are permanent residents of their habitats, but wild
populations had moved towards south Texas in the 1980s. While wild Muscovy Ducks are
limited to Texas, coastal Mexico, and Central America, their domesticated populations can
be found throughout North America. In recent years, they have established new feral
populations in Florida and along the Gulf Coast. These birds are also found throughout a
large portion of South America, with their range ending around southern Brazil.
Muscovy Duck Life Cycle
At the age of one year old, these birds become sexually mature and can start breeding. After mating, the female Muscovy Duck lays 10 to 16 eggs that she then incubates in her nest for close to 35 days. During this incubation period, the male duck leaves the female bird in the nest. Once the duckling’s hatch, they stay close to the female duck for 10 to 12 weeks in order to warm their bodies.
Muscovy Duck Nesting
Muscovy Ducks utilize cavities and hollows in mature trees to build their nests. Females
select the site and may use the same site for the rest of their lives. The nest is usually built
10 – 65 feet above the ground, with nests occurring on the ground only occasionally. The
nest cavities are large and generally include some lining of softer plant material. Sites on the
ground are typically near water and are covered in dense vegetation. The clutch size of each
brood is 8 – 15 eggs.
Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes
At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.
Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Muscovy Ducks
The most common types of bird-watching binoculars for viewing Muscovy Ducks are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.
Muscovy Duck T-shirts
If you love the Muscovy Duck you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.
Muscovy Duck Iron On Patches
Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron-on patches. Our bird-watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen and identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.
The Muscovy Duck is a great iron-on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.
Muscovy Duck Stickers
Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Muscovy Duck. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.
Bird Feeders for Muscovy Ducks
There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds.
Best Bird Houses for Muscovy Ducks
There are many types of birdhouses. Building a birdhouse is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 birdhouses have become our favorites. Getting a birdhouse for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these birdhouses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.