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Encyclopedia > Muscovy Duck
Muscovy Duck

Domestic Muscovy Ducks are popularly known as "Barbary ducks"
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Cairina
Species: C. moschata
Binomial name
Cairina moschata
(Linnaeus, 1758)

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. There also are feral breeding populations in North America in and around public parks in nearly every state of the USA and in the Canadian provinces. Although the Muscovy Duck is a tropical bird, it adapts to icy and snowy conditions down to 10°F and below without ill effects [1]. Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... The conservation status of a species is an indicator of the likelihood of that species continuing to survive either in the present day or the future. ... Image File history File links Status_iucn3. ... Least Concern (LC) is an IUCN category assigned to extant species or lower taxa which have been evaluated but do not qualify for any other category. ... For other uses, see Scientific classification (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Animal (disambiguation). ... Typical Classes See below Chordates (phylum Chordata) are a group of animals that includes the vertebrates, together with several closely related invertebrates. ... For other meanings of bird, see bird (disambiguation). ... Families Anhimidae Anseranatidae Anatidae †Dromornithidae †Presbyornithidae The order Anseriformes contains about 150 species of birds in three families: the Anhimidae (the screamers), Anseranatidae (the Magpie-goose), and the Anatidae, which includes over 140 species of waterfowl, among them the ducks, geese, and swans. ... Subfamilies Dendrocygninae Thalassorninae Anserinae Stictonettinae Plectropterinae Tadorninae Anatinae Aythyinae Merginae Oxyurinae and see text Anatidae is the biological family that includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swan. ... Cairina is a genus of ducks in the bird family Anatidae. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Carl Linnaeus, Latinized as Carolus Linnaeus, also known after his ennoblement as  , (May 23, 1707[1] – January 10, 1778), was a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist[2] who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of nomenclature. ... Year 1758 (MDCCLVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 11-day slower Julian calendar). ... Subfamilies Dendrocygninae Oxyurinae Anatinae Aythyinae Merginae Duck is the common name for a number of species in the Anatidae family of birds. ... For other uses, see Central America (disambiguation). ... South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ... This article is about the river that empties into the Gulf of Mexico. ... Official language(s) No official language See languages of Texas Capital Austin Largest city Houston Largest metro area Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington Area  Ranked 2nd  - Total 261,797 sq mi (678,051 km²)  - Width 773 miles (1,244 km)  - Length 790 miles (1,270 km)  - % water 2. ... A feral horse (an American mustang) in Wyoming A feral animal or plant is one that has escaped from domestication and returned, partly or wholly, to its wild state. ...

The wild Muscovy Duck is all-dark apart from the white in the wings, with long talons on its feet and a wide flat tail. The male is 86 cm long and weighs from 2.1 to 3.2 kg, much larger than the 64 cm long, 970 g to 1.3 kg female. His most distinctive features are a bare red face with a pronounced caruncle at the base of the bill and a low erectile crest of feathers. The drake has a dry hissing call, and the hen a quiet trilling coo. Talon may refer to several different things: Places: Talon, Nièvre, a commune in the Nièvre département, in France Characters: a professional wrestler a fictional character in the Static Shock animated series a fictional character from the Nintendo 64 game The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Objects... Caruncle (Latin caruncula wart) can mean: In botany, an elaiosome, especially in the plant family Euphorbiaceae The sensory organ of Annelid worms, see Prostomium In human anatomy, various small fleshy excrescences, especially a small, red portion of the corner of the eye that contains modified sebaceous and sweat glands. ...


Origin of name

Muscovys had been domesticated by various Native American cultures in the New World when Columbus arrived. A few Muscovys were first brought to Europe by the European explorers at least by the 1500s. The Muscovy Company, also called the Muscovite Company, began shipping the ducks to Europe sometime after 1550. It is believed that the ducks came to be interchangeably called Muscovite ducks or Muscovy ducks in keeping with the common practice of attaching the importer's name to the products they sold. Over the years, Muscovy became more colloquial than Muscovite.[2] In certain sections of England the name "Barbary" duck is most common. In certain circles the name Barbary duck refers to the butchered carcass while Muscovy duck refers to the live animal. Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 780 × 599 pixels Full resolution (1840 × 1414 pixel, file size: 866 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Muscovy Duck Metadata This file... Native Americans redirects here. ... Frontispiece of Peter Martyr dAnghieras De orbe novo (On the New World). Carte dAmérique, Guillaume Delisle, 1722. ... Christopher Columbus (1451 – May 20, 1506) was a navigator and colonialist who is one of the first Europeans to discover the Americas, after the Vikings. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... The decade of years from 1500 to 1509, inclusive. ... Ivan IV of Russia demonstrates his treasures to the English ambassador (1875) The Muscovy Company (also called Russian Company or Muscovy Trading Company, Russian: Московская компания), was a trading company chartered in 1555. ... Ivan IV of Russia demonstrates his treasures to the English ambassador (1875) The Muscovy Company (also called Russian Company or Muscovy Trading Company, Russian: Московская компания), was a trading company chartered in 1555. ...

There is also a popular old wives tale about the origin of the name "Muscovy." This holds that the modern name came from an earlier name "musk duck" because of its musk-smelling secretion. In fact, Muscovys don't have a musk gland. They do have a prominent oil gland at the base of their tail, but there is no musky odor to the oil. An old wives tale is a wisdom much like an urban legend, supposedly passed down by old wives to a younger generation. ... Musk is the name originally given to a perfume obtained originally from the strong-smelling substance secreted by a gland in the abdomen of the male musk deer, and hence applied to other animals, and also to plants, possessing a similar odor. ...


This non-migratory species normally inhabits forested swamps, lakes and streams, and often roosts in trees at night. Flock of Barnacle Geese during autumn migration Bird migration refers to the regular seasonal journeys of varying distances undertaken by many species of birds. ...

This species, like the Mallard, does not form stable pairs, and will mate with related birds. When Muscovies mate with other species of ducks the offspring are called mules and are unable to reproduce. Muscovy x Domestic duck breeds are common and are used as meat birds: they grow fast like mallard derived breeds and get to be a large size like Muscovies. Muscovies will mate in the water or on land. For other uses, see Mallard (disambiguation). ...

The hen lays a clutch of 8-16 white eggs, usually in a tree hole or hollow, which are incubated for 35 days. The sitting hen will leave the nest once a day from 20 minutes to one and one half hours, and will then defecate, drink water, eat and sometimes bathe. Once the eggs begin to hatch it may take 24 hours for all the chicks to break through their shells. When feral chicks are born they usually stay with their mother for about 10-12 weeks. Their bodies cannot produce all the heat they need, especially in temperate regions, so they will stay close to the mother especially at night. The word incubate in the context of birds refers to the development of the chick (embryo) within the egg and the constant temperature required for the development of it over a specific period. ...

Often, the male Muscovy or Barbary duck will stay in close contact with the brood for several weeks. The male will walk with the young during their normal travels in search for food, providing protection. Anecdotal evidence from East Anglia, UK suggests that, in response to different environmental conditions, other adults assist in protecting chicks and providing warmth at night. It has been suggested that this is in response to local efforts to cull the eggs, which has led to an atypical distribution of males and females, young and mature birds.

The Muscovy Duck has benefited from nest boxes in Mexico, but is somewhat uncommon in much of the east of its range due to excessive hunting.

The Muscovy Duck is a somewhat aggressive breed. The males often fight over food, territory or mates. The females fight with each other less often. Some adult Muscovys will peck at the chicks if they are eating at the same food source.


The Muscovy Duck's diet consists of plant material obtained by grazing or dabbling in shallow water, with some small vertebrates and insects. For the first few weeks of their lives, Muscovy duckling feed on grains, corn, grass, insects, and most anything that moves, including small anole lizards. Their mother instructs them at a early age how to feed. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Orders Subclass Apterygota Archaeognatha (bristletails) Thysanura (silverfish) Subclass Pterygota Infraclass Paleoptera (Probably paraphyletic) Ephemeroptera (mayflies) Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) Infraclass Neoptera Superorder Exopterygota Grylloblattodea (ice-crawlers) Mantophasmatodea (gladiators) Plecoptera (stoneflies) Embioptera (webspinners) Zoraptera (angel insects) Dermaptera (earwigs) Orthoptera (grasshoppers, etc) Phasmatodea (stick insects) Blattodea (cockroaches) Isoptera (termites) Mantodea (mantids) Psocoptera...

DNA sequencing

It was formerly placed into the paraphyletic "perching duck" assemblage, but subsequently moved to the Anatinae subfamily of dabbling ducks. Analysis of the mtDNA sequences of the cytochrome b and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 genes (Johnson & Sorenson, 1999), however, indicates that it might be closer to the genus Aix and better placed in the shelduck subfamily Tadorninae; in addition, the other species of Cairina, the rare White-winged Wood Duck, seems to belong into a distinct genus. Paraphyletic - Wikipedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... The perching ducks were previously treated as a small group of ducks in the duck, goose and swan family Anatidae, grouped together on the basis of their readiness to perch high in trees. ... The Anatinae is one of the subfamilies of the family Anatidae, which includes the swans, geese and ducks. ... ... Genera Pteronetta Cairina Aix Nettapus Anas Callonetta Chenonetta Amazonetta See also Diving duck The dabbling ducks are a group of eight genera and about 55 species of ducks, including some of the most familiar Northern Hemisphere species. ... Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is DNA which is not located in the nucleus of the cell but in the mitochondria. ... part of a DNA sequence A DNA sequence (sometimes genetic sequence) is a succession of letters representing the primary structure of a real or hypothetical DNA molecule or strand, The possible letters are A, C, G, and T, representing the four nucleotide subunits of a DNA strand (adenine, cytosine, guanine... CoQ Cytochrome c reductase The Coenzyme Q - cytochrome c reductase complex, sometimes called the cytochrome bc1 complex, and at other times Complex III, is the third complex in the electron transfer chain (PDB 1KYO, EC 1. ... NADH dehydrogenase NADH dehydrogenase (EC 1. ... In structural biology, a protein subunit or subunit protein is a single protein molecule that assembles (or coassembles) with other protein molecules to form a multimeric or oligomeric protein. ... For other uses, see Gene (disambiguation). ... Aix is a genus that contains two species of dabbling ducks: Aix sponsa (Wood Duck) Aix galericulata (Mandarin Duck) Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) Categories: Ducks ... Species Tadorna ferruginea Tadorna cana Tadorna tadornoides Tadorna variegata Tadorna cristata Tadorna tadorna Tadorna radjah The Shelducks, genus Tadorna, are a group of large birds in the Tadorninae subfamily of the Anatidae, the biological family that includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl such as the geese and swans. ... Genera Sarkidiornis Tadorna Malacorhynchus Cyanochen Chloephaga Neochen Alopochen Hymenolaimus Merganetta Tachyeres The Tadorninae is a subfamily of the Anatidae, the biological family that includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl such as the (geese and swans). ... Binomial name Cairina scutulata (Müller, 1842) The White-winged Wood Duck (Cairina scutulata) is a species of dabbling duck in the genus Cairina. ...


The Muscovy Duck has been domesticated for centuries, and is commercially known as Barbary duck. This breed is popular because it has stronger-tasting meat than with most other domestic ducks (which are domesticated descendants of the Mallard), like roast beef, and is less noisy. Their meat is lean, unlike the fatty meat of Mallard derivative ducks, the leanness and tenderness being often compared to that of veal. The carcass of a Muscovy Duck is also much heavier than that of most other domestic ducks, which make it ideal for the dinner table. Domesticated ducks // Domesticated ducks are kept for meat, eggs and down. ... For other uses, see Mallard (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Beef (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Mallard (disambiguation). ... Veal is the meat of young calves (usually male) appreciated for its delicate taste and tender texture. ...

Domesticated Muscovy Ducks, like those pictured, often have plumage features differing from that of wild birds. White color is preferred for meat production. Muscovy hens range in weight from 2 to 5 kg (5 to 10 pounds); drakes are commonly 5 to 8 kg (10 to 17 pounds). One Australian strain male weighed about 10 kg (20 pounds). Domesticated Muscovy Ducks can breed up to three times each year. Some have escaped into the wild and now breed outside their native domain, including in western Europe and the United States. For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ...

The Muscovy Duck can be crossed with the domestic duck in captivity to produce hybrids which are known as Mulard ducks ("mule ducks") because they are sterile hybrids). Muscovy drakes are commercially crossed with Mallard derivative ducks either by natural or artificial insemination. The 40-60% of eggs that are fertile result in birds raised only for their meat. Conversely, crossing Mallard drakes with Muscovy females is possible, yet their offspring are desirable for neither meat nor egg production.[3] Mules are often used in the production of foie gras. For other uses, see Mallard (disambiguation). ... // This article is about a biological term. ... For other uses, see Mule (disambiguation). ... Sterility is the quality or state of being unable to reproduce. ... For other uses, see Mallard (disambiguation). ... Pâté de foie gras (right) with pickled pear. ...

In England, they are particularly common in East Anglia. Norfolk and Suffolk, the core area of East Anglia. ...

Muscovy ducks are reportedly crossbred in Israel with mallards, to produce kosher duck products. The kosher status of the Muscovy duck has been a matter of rabbinic discussion for over 150 years. (A reprint of the opinions surrounding the status of the duck can be found on the Kashrut.com website).

Problems with feral populations

Some feral populations, such as that in Florida are said to present problems. Muscovy Ducks can breed near urban and suburban lakes and on farms, nesting in tree cavities or on the ground, under shrubs in yards, on condominium balconies, or under roof overhangs. A feral horse (an American mustang) in Wyoming A feral animal or plant is one that has escaped from domestication and returned, partly or wholly, to its wild state. ... Official language(s) English Capital Tallahassee Largest city Jacksonville Largest metro area Miami metropolitan area Area  Ranked 22nd  - Total 65,795[1] sq mi (170,304[1] km²)  - Width 361 miles (582 km)  - Length 447 miles (721 km)  - % water 17. ... This article refers to a form of housing. ...

Problems arise from aggressive begging for food and mess created by droppings. It is said that each adult duck produces about 150 g (1/3-pound) of droppings per day, and they defecate in swimming pools and on patios and docks. This presents a possible health hazard. They have been known to mate with wild mallard ducks, creating another potential nuisance.

Muscovy ducks, like other domestic animals, are considered private property. If someone claims ownership, the birds are the owner's to do with as he or she pleases, so long as Florida Statute 828.12 regarding animal cruelty is not violated. Similarly, if the muscovies have no owner, no state or federal law prohibits their capture and humane euthanization. This can be a last resort to resolve a nuisance problem. [1]

Legal methods to restrict breeding include not feeding these ducks, deterring them with noise or by chasing, and finding nests and vigorously shaking the eggs to render them non-viable. Returning the eggs to the nest will avoid re-laying as she would if the clutch were removed. If they are on your property or you have the consent of the property owner, you may also harvest them and their eggs for meat.

Duckling information

Muscovy or Barbary ducklings are yellow with buff brown marking, usually on tail and wings. Some have a dark head and blue eyes, others a light brown crown. They can to mostly yellow, with dark markings, and sometimes have marking on their nape. They are agile hunters, and fast. They are also exremely quick learners.


References and notes

  1. ^ Holderread, David. 2001, 'Guide to Raising Ducks', pg 17
  2. ^ Holderread, David. 2001, 'Guide to Raising Ducks', pp 73-74
  3. ^ Holderread, David. 2001, 'Guide to Raising Ducks', pg 97
  • BirdLife International (2004). Cairina moschata. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • Donkin, R. A. (1989): Muscovy duck, Cairina moschata domestica: Origins, Dispersal, and Associated Aspects of the Geography of Domestication. A.A. Balkema Publishers, B.R. Rotterdam.
  • Hilty, Steven L. (2003): Birds of Venezuela. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5
  • Holderread, David (2001): Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks, pp. 73-74, 97. Storey Publishing, North Adams, MA. ISBN 1-58017-258-X
  • Johnson, Kevin P. & Sorenson, Michael D. (1999): Phylogeny and biogeography of dabbling ducks (genus Anas): a comparison of molecular and morphological evidence. Auk 116(3): 792–805. PDF fulltext
  • Stiles, F. Gary & Skutch, Alexander Frank (1989): A guide to the birds of Costa Rica. Comistock, Ithaca. ISBN 0-8014-9600-4
  • Zivotofsky, Rabbi Ari Z. Ph.D. & Amar, Zohar Ph.D. (2003): The Halachic Tale of Three American Birds: Turkey, Prairie Chicken, and Muscovy Duck. The Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society. Rabbi Jacob Joseph School Press, Staten Island, NY.

  Results from FactBites:
Muscovy Ducks (529 words)
Muscovies are the only domestic ducks that are not derived from Mallard stock.
The meat of the Muscovy is unlike that of the other domestic ducks.
In Taiwan and Europe they often use the Mule Duck, a hybrid of the Muscovy with Mallard-derivatives, as a meat bird.
  More results at FactBites »



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