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The Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata) is a large duck indigenous to your Americas, through the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and Mexico south to Argentina and Uruguay. Tiny wild and feral breeding populations have recognized them selves in The us, notably in Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, the Big Island of Hawaii, as well as in all kinds of other elements of North America, such as southern Canada. Feral Muscovy ducks are present in New Zealand, Australia, and in parts of Europe.[three][4]

It's really a massive duck, With all the males about 76 cm (30 in) extensive, and weighing nearly 7 kg (15 lb). Girls are significantly smaller, and only improve to three kg (six.six lb), about half the males' size. The hen is predominantly black and white, with the again feathers staying iridescent and shiny in males, while the ladies are more drab. The level of white to the neck and head is variable, as well as the Monthly bill, which can be yellow, pink, black, or any combination of those shades. It could have white patches or bars within the wings, which turn into more apparent all through flight. Equally sexes have pink or pink wattles round the Invoice, Those people from the male becoming greater and even more brightly coloured.[5][6]

Although the Muscovy duck is really a tropical bird, it adapts very well to cooler climates, flourishing in weather as chilly as -twelve °C (ten °File) and in a position to outlive even colder situations.[7][8] In general, Barbary duck will be the phrase utilized for C. moschata inside of a culinary context.

The domestic subspecies, Cairina moschata domestica, is often recognised in Spanish as being the pato criollo. They are actually bred since pre-Columbian times by Native People in america and they are heavier and fewer capable of fly extended distances in comparison to the wild subspecies. Their plumage color can be much more variable. Other names for that domestic breed in Spanish are pato casero ("yard duck") and pato mudo ("mute duck").


Cairina moschata domestica head element

All Muscovy ducks have prolonged claws on their toes and a broad, flat tail. In the domestic drake (male), size is about 86 cm (34 in) and pounds is 4.6–6.8 kg (10–fifteen lb), although the domestic hen (female) is far smaller, at sixty four cm (25 in) in duration and a pair–three.six kg (6.0–7.nine lb) in weight. Big domesticated males normally weigh up to 7 kg (fifteen lb), and huge domesticated ladies as many as four kg (eight.eight lb).

The correct wild Muscovy duck, from which all domestic Muscovies originated, is blackish, with large white wing patches. Duration can range between 66 to eighty four cm (26 to 33 in), wingspan from 137 to 152 cm (54 to 60 in) and weight from to kg (two.four to 9.0 lb). On The pinnacle, the wild male has a brief crest to the nape. The Invoice is black that has a speckling of pale pink. A blackish or darkish pink knob can be witnessed at the Monthly bill foundation, which is similar in colour on the bare skin in the encounter. The eyes are yellowish-brown. The legs and webbed toes are blackish. The wild feminine is comparable in plumage, but Considerably lesser, using a feathered encounter and lacking the outstanding knob. The juvenile is duller Over-all, with little or no white within the upperwing.[9]

Domesticated birds might glance related; most are dark brown or black blended with white, especially on the head.[10] Other hues, for instance lavender or all-white, may also be found. Each sexes Possess a nude black-and-pink or all-pink face; the drake also has pronounced caruncles at the base in the Invoice along with a very low erectile crest of feathers.[8] C. moschata ducklings are largely yellow with buff-brown markings to the tail and wings. For quite a while following hatching, juveniles absence the unique wattles associated with Grownup folks, and resemble the offspring of varied other ducks, such as mallards. Some domesticated ducklings Use a dim head and blue eyes, Many others a light brown crown and dim markings on their nape. They're agile and fast precocial birds.

The drake features a very low breathy contact, plus the hen a tranquil trilling coo.

The karyotype of the Muscovy duck is 2n=80, consisting of three pairs of macrochromosomes, 36 pairs of microchromosomes, plus a pair of sex chromosomes. The two biggest macrochromosome pairs are submetacentric, even though all other chromosomes are acrocentric or in all probability telocentric for your smallest microchromosomes. The submetacentric chromosomes as well as the Z (female) chromosome show somewhat minimal constitutive heterochromatin (C bands), when the W chromosomes are not less than two-thirds heterochromatin.[eleven]

Male Muscovy ducks have helical penises that turn out to be erect to 19 cm (7 in) in 0.three s. Females have vaginas that coil in the alternative direction that show up to possess evolved to limit pressured copulation by males.[12][13]


Common name “Muscovy”

A male and several females (wild kind)

"Muscovy" is surely an outdated name to the location of Russia surrounding Moscow, but these ducks are neither native there nor ended up released there in advance of they became identified in Western Europe. It is far from very apparent how the phrase came about; it really probably originated in between 1550 and 1600, but did not turn into common right until somewhat afterwards.

In one recommendation, it has been claimed that the organization of Service provider Adventurers to New Lands traded these ducks to Europe once in a while soon after 1550;[fourteen] this chartered business became finally often called the "Muscovy Business" or "Muscovite Organization" And so the ducks may Therefore have arrive at be called "Muscovite ducks" or "Muscovy ducks" In step with the frequent practice of attaching the importer's name to your solutions they marketed.[fourteen] But while the Muscovite Company initiated vigorous trade with Russia, they rarely, if in the slightest degree, traded generate from your Americas; thus, they are not likely to own traded C. moschata to a substantial extent.

Alternatively—equally as within the "turkey" (which happens to be also from North The united states, not Turkey) and also the "guineafowl" (which aren't restricted to Guinea)—"Muscovy" could be merely a generic time period for an exotic place, in reference towards the singular overall look of such birds. This can be evidenced by other names suggesting the species came from lands where It isn't truly indigenous, but from where much "outlandish" make was imported At the moment (see beneath).

One more see—not incompatible with both of These talked about previously mentioned—connects the species Along with the Muisca, a Native American nation in the present Colombia. The duck is indigenous to these lands also, and it is probably going that it absolutely was stored from the Muisca being a domestic animal to some extent. It can be conceivable that a time period like "Muisca duck", not easy to understand for the typical European of All those situations, can be corrupted into a little something much more familiar. Also, the Miskito Indians with the Miskito Coast in Nicaragua and Honduras seriously relied on it being a domestic species, as well as ducks also could are actually named just after this area.

Species identify “moschata”

A Muscovy drake

Linnaeus’ description of Anas moschata only includes a curt but completely unequivocal [Anas] facie nuda papillosa ("A duck with a unadorned and carunculated deal with"), and his Key reference is his earlier function Fauna Svecica.[fifteen] But Linnaeus refers also to older sources, whereby Significantly info on the origin on the prevalent name is identified.

Conrad Gessner is presented by Linnaeus being a supply, however the Historia animalium mentions the Muscovy duck only in passing.[sixteen] Ulisse Aldrovandi[17] discusses the species in detail, referring to your wild birds and its domestic breeds variously as anas cairina, anas indica or anas libyca – "duck from Cairo", "Indian duck" (in reference towards the West Indies) or "Libyan duck". But his anas indica (based mostly, like Gessner's temporary discussion, finally around the stories of Christopher Columbus's travels) also seems to have included One more species,[18] Probably a whistling-duck (Dendrocygna). Now nevertheless the species is tied to some roughly nondescript "unique" locality – "Libya" could even now refer to any place in Northern Africa at that time – wherever it didn't natively occur. Francis Willughby discusses "The Muscovy duck" as anas moschata and expresses his belief that Aldrovandi's and Gessner's anas cairina, anas indica and anas libyca (which he calls "The Guiny duck", introducing Yet another mistaken location of origin into the checklist) seek advice from the exact same species.[19] Ultimately, John Ray attempts to obvious up the confusion by delivering an alternate explanation for your name's etymology:

In English, it is called The Muscovy-Duck, however it's not transferred from Muscovia [the New Latin title of Muscovy], but through the fairly powerful musk odour it exudes.[twenty]

Linnaeus arrived to witness the birds' "gamey" aroma very first-hand, as he attests within the Fauna Svecica and once more during the travelogue of the 1746 Västergötland tour.[fifteen][21] Likewise, the Russian identify of the species, muskusnaya utka (????????? ????), implies "musk duck" – without any reference to Moscow – as do the Bokmål and Danish moskusand, Dutch muskuseend, Finnish myskisorsa, French canard musqué, German Moschusente, Italian anatra muschiata, Spanish pato almizclado and Swedish myskand. In English, on the other hand, musk duck refers back to the Australian species Biziura lobata.

Genus title "Cairina"

The currently assigned genus identify Cairina, In the meantime, traces its origin to Aldrovandi as well as mistaken belief the birds arrived from Egypt: translated, The existing scientific name on the Muscovy duck means "the musky one from Cairo".

Other names

In a few areas the title "Barbary duck" is used for domestic and "Muscovy duck" for wild birds; in other places, "Barbary duck" refers specifically on the dressed carcass, although "Muscovy duck" relates to living C. moschata, regardless of whether They are really wild or domestic. In general, "Barbary duck" is the same old time period for C. moschata inside a culinary context.

Taxonomy and systematics

A domestic Muscovy duck with wings outstretched

The species was very first scientifically explained by Carl Linnaeus in his 1758 version of Systema Naturae as Anas moschata,[22] basically meaning "musk duck". It was later on transferred to your genus Cairina, building its present binomial identify Cairina moschata.

The Muscovy duck was formerly put in to the paraphyletic "perching duck" assemblage, but subsequently moved to the dabbling duck subfamily (Anatinae). Evaluation in the mtDNA sequences in the cytochrome b and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 genes,[23] having said that, suggests that it'd be closer to the genus Aix and much better positioned while in the shelduck subfamily Tadorninae. On top of that, the opposite species of Cairina, the exceptional white-winged duck (C. scutulata), appears to belong to a distinct genus (Asarcornis).


This non-migratory species Generally inhabits forested swamps, lakes, streams and nearby grassland and farm crops,[24] and sometimes roosts in trees during the night. The Muscovy duck's eating plan is made up of plant product (like the roots, stems, leaves, and seeds of aquatic crops and grasses, together with terrestrial vegetation, which include agricultural crops) acquired by grazing or dabbling in shallow water, and modest fish, amphibians, reptiles, crustaceans, insects, millipedes, and worms.[25][26][27] This is an intense duck; males typically combat about food items, territory or mates. The girls combat with each other a lot less typically. Some Grown ups will peck on the ducklings When they are eating at a similar foods supply.

The Muscovy duck has benefited from nest packing containers in Mexico, but is relatively unheard of in Substantially on the eastern Section of its selection due to too much searching. It's not viewed as a globally threatened species by the IUCN, having said that, as it's greatly dispersed.[1]


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Egg, assortment Museum Wiesbaden

This species, just like the mallard, will not kind stable pairs. They'll mate on land or in h2o (Take note the submerged female in the image under). Domestic Muscovy ducks can breed as many as three times each and every year.

The hen lays a clutch of 8–sixteen white eggs, generally in a very tree hole or hollow, which can be incubated for 35 days. The sitting down hen will depart the nest once each day from twenty minutes to 1 and a half hours, and can then defecate, consume drinking water, try to eat and from time to time bathe. After the eggs start to hatch, it may get 24 several hours for the many chicks to interrupt as a result of their shells. When feral chicks are born, they sometimes stay with their mom for approximately ten–12 months. Their bodies cannot create all the heat they need, particularly in temperate areas, so they may remain near the mom, especially in the evening.

Frequently, the drake will remain in near connection with the brood for numerous months. The male will wander While using the young throughout their typical travels in look for foodstuff, offering protection. Anecdotal proof from East Anglia, U.K. implies that, in reaction to distinctive environmental ailments, other Older people help in protecting chicks and supplying heat during the night. It has been advised this is in response to local initiatives to cull the eggs, that has triggered an atypical distribution of males and women, as well as younger and experienced birds.

For the first few months in their life, Muscovy chicks feed on grains, corn, grass, insects, and Just about just about anything that moves. Their mom instructs them at an early age the best way to feed.

Feral bird

A feral Chocolate/White Muscovy hen at Lake Union, Seattle (U.S.)

A feral Muscovy duck in Ely, England

Feral Muscovy ducks can breed close to urban and suburban lakes and on farms, nesting in tree cavities or on the bottom, below shrubs in yards, on condominium balconies, or below roof overhangs. Some feral populations, such as that in southern Florida, Have got a name of turning into pests now and again.[28] At night they typically snooze at water, when there is a water resource accessible, to flee promptly from predators if awakened. Small populations of Muscovy ducks can also be found in Ely, Cambridgeshire, Calstock, Cornwall, and Lincoln, Lincolnshire, U.K. Muscovy ducks have also been noticed while in the Walsall Arboretum. There have been a little population while in the Pavilion Gardens public park in Buxton, Derbyshire for a few years.[29]

During the U.S., Muscovy ducks are thought of an invasive species. An owner may increase them for foodstuff output only (not for looking). Equally, Should the ducks don't have any owner, 50CFR Component 21 (Migratory Bird Permits) will allow the elimination or destruction in the ducks, their eggs and their nests any where in The usa outside of Hidalgo, Starr and Zapata Counties in Texas, the place These are thought of indigenous. The population in southern Florida is taken into account, with quantities from the several countless numbers, being set up adequate to generally be viewed as "countable" for bird watchers.[thirty]

Authorized approaches to restrict breeding consist of not feeding these ducks, deterring them with sounds or chasing them absent.

While laws handed in the U.S. prohibiting trade of Muscovy ducks, Fish and Wildlife Expert services plan to revise the laws. They aren't now applying them, however release of Muscovy ducks for the wild outside their all-natural array is prohibited.[31]


A Piebald Muscovy drake

Muscovy ducks were domesticated by several Native American cultures during the Americas when Columbus arrived during the Bahamas. A couple of were introduced onto Columbus' ship the Santa Maria, they then sailed back again to Europe because of the sixteenth century.

The Muscovy duck has long been domesticated for hundreds of years, and is particularly broadly traded as "Barbary duck". Muscovy breeds are well-known as they have stronger-tasting meat—occasionally when compared with roast beef—than the same old domestic ducks, which are descendants from the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos). The meat is lean compared towards the fatty meat of mallard-derived ducks, its leanness and tenderness remaining typically as compared to veal. Muscovy ducks also are significantly less noisy, and in some cases marketed for a "quackless" duck; Regardless that they aren't completely silent, they don't essentially quack (besides in situations of utmost pressure). The carcass of a Muscovy duck is likewise Considerably heavier than most other domestic ducks, which makes it ideal for the meal table.

A Lavender Muscovy hen

A Lavender Muscovy drake

Domesticated Muscovy ducks, like All those pictured, typically have plumage attributes differing from other wild birds. White breeds are preferred for meat production, as darker kinds may have A great deal melanin within the pores and skin, which many people uncover unappealing.

The Muscovy duck is usually crossed with mallards in captivity to create hybrids often called mulards ("mule ducks") mainly because they are sterile. Muscovy drakes are commercially crossed with mallard-derived hens both Normally or by synthetic insemination. The 40–60% of eggs which can be fertile bring about birds elevated only for his or her meat or for manufacture of foie gras: they develop rapid like mallard-derived breeds, but to a big size like Muscovy ducks. Conversely, while crossing mallard-derived drakes with Muscovy hens is achievable, the offspring are neither fascinating for meat nor for egg output.[32][33]

In addition, Muscovy ducks are reportedly crossbred in Israel with mallards to make kosher duck solutions. The kashrut standing on the Muscovy duck has been a make any difference of rabbinic discussion for more than 150 years.[33]

Oscillococcinum is usually a homeopathic preparing made from Muscovy duck livers and hearts produced via the French enterprise Boiron; comparable merchandise may also be offered from other producers. Commonly diluted with lactose and sucrose to one:10400 (much below one particular in a single googol), They can be advertised to relieve influenza-like signs or symptoms, but no proof has been located of their efficacy.[34][35]

A study examining birds in northwestern Colombia for blood parasites located the Muscovy duck to get far more regularly contaminated with Haemoproteus and malaria (Plasmodium) parasites than chickens, domestic pigeons, domestic turkeys and, in actual fact, Virtually all wild hen species also analyzed. It was mentioned that in other areas of the world, chickens have been extra prone to this kind of bacterial infections than in the analyze space, but it really might be that Muscovy ducks are generally far more typically contaminated with this sort of parasites (which might not induce pronounced condition, although, and so are harmless to individuals).[36]