Muscovy ducks range
from coastal Mexico through Central America and most of South America.
Females usually nest in tree cavities, and members of both sexes use trees
for roosting. Their diet is varied but they seem to prefer feeding
in shallow areas of flooded vegetation. Thus their preferred habitat
is wetlands in or near forested areas.
male Muscovy, Tamaulipas, Mexico
flooded landscape, Nhecolândia region, Pantanal
Ducks Unlimited of Mexico,
A.C. (DUMAC) manages Muscovy ducks through a nest box program similar to
the one implemented in the U.S. for wood ducks (Aix sponsa).
female Muscovy on nest box, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Both males and females
are mostly black with iridescent plumage on the upper body and white wing
patches. Males are almost twice as large as females, weighing up
to 4.0 kg (about 10 lb) compared to a typical female weight of 2.0-2.5
kg. Males also have more exaggerated caruncles, which are fleshy
outgrowths of bare skin around the face and bill.
female Muscovy, Poconé, Mato Grosso, Brazil
Although Muscovies are generally silent birds, they have a suite of visual displays and frequently engage in active display bouts. Displays include head-bobbing, tail-wagging, crest-raising, and bill-clapping. They seem to used in various contexts - e.g., aggression, courtship, and vigilance.
Muscovy ducks were domesticated
by native South Americans before Europeans arrived in the New World.
Now domestic Muscovies can be found in farmyards (and escaped in parks!)
worldwide. The domestic form differs from its wild cousin in appearance
- plumage color is variable and often includes extensive areas of white,
and the caruncles tend to get out of control (especially in males).
Their behavior, however, is quite similar.
|| domestic feral Muscovy male,
Coral Reef Park, Miami, FL