Muscovy Duck

Cairina moschata

The Muscovy Duck, Cairina moschata, is a large duck which is native to Mexico, Central and South America. A small wild population reaches into the US in the lower Rio Grande River basin in Texas.

Interesting Information

  • The Muscovy Duck doesn't swim as often as other ducks due to their underdeveloped oil glands.

  • The domesticated Muscovy is the only domestic duck not bred from mallard stock.

  • They are also called the Common Duck, Forest Duck, and Greater Wood Duck.

  • A group of ducks has many collective nouns, including "a brace of ducks", "flush of ducks", "paddling of ducks", "raft of ducks", and a "team of ducks."


Adult Description

Large, usually domesticated duck; wild birds are dark with white wing patch that is visible in flight; domesticated birds occur in any mix of white and black. Crested head; bare face, may be black or red or a combination, has large wart-like knob at the base of the bill.

Sex Differences

Sexes similar.




Prefers forests near water where it roosts in trees at night and nests in tree cavities.


Feeds on vegetation by dabbling in ponds, lakes and, rivers.


Feeds on vegetation by dabbling in ponds, lakes and, rivers. Eats insects and seeds found in grain fields.



Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
     Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
    Subfamily: Anserinae
Genus: Cairina
Species: Cairina moschata

Similar Species

Neotropic Cormorant has a more slender body, longer, thinner neck and tail, and lacks white patches on wings.

Bird Sound

Muscovy Duck: Mostly silent. Male hisses, female may "quack" or utter a gutteral "croak."

Eggs look like this

Photo taken from: ARCTOS Collaborative Collection Management Solution


Muscovy Duck 1

White (Light Variant)

Muscovy Duck 2

White (Light Variant)

Muscovy Duck 3