At a Glance

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.
Duck-like Birds
Low Concern
Coasts and Shorelines, Freshwater Wetlands, Lakes, Ponds, and Rivers, Urban and Suburban Habitats
Florida, Texas
Direct Flight

Range & Identification


25 -34" (64 - 86 cm). Very large, and mostly black. White wing patches obvious in flight, not when swimming. Male is larger and glossier than female, with knob above bill. Domesticated forms usually have much white in the plumage.
About the size of a Heron, About the size of a Mallard or Herring Gull
Black, Gray, Red, White
Wing Shape
Broad, Rounded
Tail Shape

Songs and Calls

Not often heard; quiet quacks and grunts.
Call Pattern
Flat, Simple
Call Type

Climate Vulnerability

Conservation Status

Climate Map

Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect the range of the Muscovy Duck. Learn even more in our Audubon’s Survival By Degrees project.

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.