The Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata) is a large, tropical wetland dabbllng bird. It is also known as the Barbary Duck.
The Muscovy Duck is mainly black and white, with the male having more iridescent feathers than the female. The white feathers on its neck and head can be consistent or patchy. It often has white patches or bars on its wings. The male has a short crest on the back of its neck. Its beak can be yellow, pink, or black. It has pink or red wattles (loose skin) around its beak.
It has long claws on its webbed feet and a wide flat tail. Its eyes are yellowish-brown.
It grows to about 66-84 centimetres (26-33 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 137-152 centimetres (54-60 inches). The female is about half the size of the male.
The Muscovy Duck is native to Mexico, Central America, and South America. It is a non-migratory bird. It prefers forested swamps, lakes, streams, and nearby grasslands and farms.
It often roosts in trees at night.
It dabbles in shallow water, looking for small fish, frogs, newts, reptiles, crabs, shrimp, insects, centipedes, and millipedes to eat.
The Muscovy Duck makes a nest in a tree hole or hollow. The female lays 8-16 eggs, which hatch after 35 days. The chicks are precocial, which means that they are born with some soft feathers. The chicks stay with their mother for 10-12 weeks.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM