Muscovy Duck, Cairina moschata


Short description of Cairina moschata, Muscovy Duck

This is a large, heavy, ungainly duck with bare facial skin and sometimes a short crest. The full wild type, not seen in GB, is mainly blackish, strongly glossed green, with white wing-coverts forming sharply contrasting patches above and below the wing, dark legs and feet and mainly dark bare skin on the face.  Forms in GB show irregularly pied or white plumage, typically a large area of carunculated, bare red skin around the eyes and bill, and often yellow-orange feet.  Hybrids with mallard ('mulards') are similar but intermediate in shape and size with that species.

Description of Cairina moschata, Muscovy Duck status in GB

The muscovy duck is very widely distributed in urban parks and riversides throughout GB.  Hybridisation with feral mallards is frequent but true breeding by pairs of muscovy ducks appears not to be widespread.  Although few pairs breed, the species might already be self-sustaining at some localities.

Habitat summary: Cairina moschata, Muscovy Duck

The native habitat of this species is lakes, rivers and marshes in lowland, well forested regions, with brackish coastal marshes and pools also being used during the dry season.

Overview table

Environment: Terrestrial and Freshwater
Species status: Non-Native
Native range: Northern America, Southern America, Southwestern U.S.A., Mexico, Central America, Brazil, Argentina Distrito Federal, Bolivia, Belize, Aisén, Antofagasta, Atacama, Biobío, Coquimbo, Desventurados Is., Juan Fernández Is., La Araucania, Los Lagos, Magellanes, Maule, O'Higgins, Santiago, Tarapacá, Valparaíso, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Paraguay, Surinam, El Salvador, Trinidad-Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela
Functional type: Herbivore
Status in England: Non-Native
Status in Scotland: Non-Native
Status in Wales: Non-Native
Location of first record: Willen
Date of first record: 1983

Distribution map

GB Distribution from NBN Atlas

Author's name:

John Marchant

Last updated:

May 29th, 2012

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