The Muscovy duck (Carina moschata) is native to Mexico, Central, and South America. The domesticated Muscovy has feral populations in the southern (e.g. Texas) and southeastern (e.g. Florida) United States.
The Muscovy is a large, heavy-bodied bird with broad wings, short legs, strong claws, and a long, broad tail. Muscovy ducks have brown-black feathers with green and purple iridescence and white wing patches. Legs and feet are gray-black and the iris is yellow-brown.
Males and females are similar in appearance except that males are nearly twice as large as females. The average male weights 3 kg (6.6 lb); females weigh 1.5 kg (3.3 lb). Domestic birds are usually heavier than wild birds. Domestic birds also tend to have patches of white on the head and body and a redder face. Some domestic birds are completely white.
The Muscovy is a perching duck. Free-ranging birds prefer sheltered water (ponds, rivers, or swamps) covered by trees. The Muscovy is not cold adapted and can develop frostbite.
Image of a domestic Muscovy duck by ‘ceiling’.
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To cite this page: Pollock C. Waterfowl commonly seen in practice. December 19, 2012. LafeberVet Web site. Available at https://lafeber.com/vet/waterfowl-commonly-seen-in-practice/