Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)


French: Canard musqué German: Moschusente Spanish: Pato criollo

Anas moschata


, 1758,

India = Brazil


Recent study suggested close relationship with Tadornini#R, but supporting data needed. Monotypic.


Tropical America from Mexico S to E Peru, N Argentina and N Uruguay, and W Andes in Colombia, Ecuador and C Peru.

Introduced into USA; feral populations around the world.

Descriptive notes

66–84 cm; male 1990–4000 g, female 1100–1470 g. Unmistakable. Amount of white on upperwing-coverts varies with age. Female smaller with totally feathered... read more


Considered to be almost mute: male gives asthmatic wheeze and female single quack when alarmed, or... read more


Well-wooded tropical wetlands, preferably in lowlands; occasionally on coastal lagoons, mangroves... read more

Food and feeding

Mixture of vegetable and animal foods; roots, seeds, stems and leaves of grasses, sedges and aquatic plants, small vertebrates (fish,... read more


Few studies in wild. Males apparently highly promiscuous, although this may be an artefact of domestication. Season variable, but mostly... read more


Mainly sedentary, but subject to local movements linked with water availability during dry season,... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread, but only locally common, with an overall population estimated at 100,000–1,000,000 birds. Has declined somewhat,... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 13 December 2019).