Muscovy Duck

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Muscovy Duck

Cairina moschata
  • ORDER: Anseriformes
  • FAMILY: Anatidae
Basic Description

The strange, warty-faced Muscovy Duck causes confusion for some bird watchers, as it's very distinctive and quite commonly seen, yet does not appear in some field guides. Truly wild individuals are restricted to south Texas and points south, but domesticated versions occur in parks and farms across much of North America. Wild Muscovy Ducks are glossy black with bold white wing patches and are forest dwellers that nest in tree cavities. Their range expanded into Texas in the 1980s; feral populations also exist in Florida.

More ID Info
image of range map for Muscovy DuckRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Across much of central or southern North America, a trip to a local farm or park has a reasonable chance of turning up a domesticated Muscovy Duck. Their plumage can be extremely variable, but look for the largest, longest-necked ducks and check their faces for red, warty facial skin. If you want to see a truly wild Muscovy Duck, visit the Rio Grande Valley of Texas or forested wetlands in Mexico and the tropical Americas. The highest numbers in the U.S. are found along the Rio Grande in Starr County, between Falcon Dam and Roma.

Other Names
  • Pato Criollo (Spanish)
  • Canard musqué (French)
  • Cool Facts