Photo: Roselyn Pierce-Shirley/Audubon Photography Awards

Muscovy Duck

Cairina moschata

Most birders know the Muscovy only from having seen the dumpy domesticated version. Wild Muscovies, native to the American tropics, are wary, fast-flying birds of wooded rivers and swamps. Most Muscovies seen in North America are of the barnyard variety, but small numbers of wild birds from northeastern Mexico may appear on the Rio Grande in southern Texas. These big ducks nest in cavities in trees, and cavities large enough have become harder to find as riverside trees have been cut. However, they will also use nest boxes, and many such boxes have been put in place in Mexico by the organization Ducks Unlimited.
Family Ducks and Geese
Most birders know the Muscovy only from having seen the dumpy domesticated version. Wild Muscovies, native to the American tropics, are wary, fast-flying birds of wooded rivers and swamps. Most Muscovies seen in North America are of the barnyard variety, but small numbers of wild birds from northeastern Mexico may appear on the Rio Grande in southern Texas. These big ducks nest in cavities in trees, and cavities large enough have become harder to find as riverside trees have been cut. However, they will also use nest boxes, and many such boxes have been put in place in Mexico by the organization Ducks Unlimited.
Photo Gallery



Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

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Songs and Calls
Not often heard; quiet quacks and grunts.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Muscovy Duck

Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.

Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.

Climate threats facing the Muscovy Duck

Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.