Birdwatching: Muscovy Duck

Muscovy duck

(Cairina moschata sylvestris)

Yes, the Muscovy duck is as friendly as it appears to be in each photograph.  They are courageous and smart too.  It was a pleasure to be in their company.

Muscovy duck, by Marcia Verleta
Muscovy duck, by Marcia Verleta

Okay, I’ll admit that the Muscovy duck looks like a war bird.  I was ready to run away, but they looked at me as if I could hurt them.  Then I realized how well they evaluate their surroundings. 

On the top of the head there is a crest of erectile feathers which the bird will raise if excited or nervous – the crest is larger in the males. The crest will be raised by the males in courtship to attract a mate.

This was my first encounter with this duck family.  I would do it all over again, simply because they stare with a question in their eyes.  If you could imagine , the Muscovy expects you to repeat whatever behavior you exhibit at the first encounter.

Muscovy duck, by Marcia Verleta

The Muscovy is a very quiet duck; they do not quack like other ducks. They are usually fairly quiet unless attacked or excited. The females have a soft trilling vocalization while the males have a low hushed call.

If upset, happy or excited they wag their tails a great deal and the males can also puff and hiss.

They are fairly long lived with an average lifespan of 8-12 years, but in captivity Muscovies can live for up to 20 years.

Health wise they are very hardy. Birds with large or excessive caruncles may be prone to frostbite in colder areas, so be aware and keep an eye open for any problems.

More duck like birds:

About Amat Victoria Curam

Healing and personal growth with the help of Photography and Writing.