Muscovy ducks are brownish-black in coloration, with iridescent green and purple dorsal plumage and white wing patches. The legs and feet are grayish-black and the iris is yellowish-brown. Males and females are similar in appearance, but males are nearly twice as large as females. In addition, males have a patch of bare black skin surrounded by pinkish-red caruncles (fleshy outgrowths) which extends from the back of the eye to the bill. Although relatively silent, the male produces a low hissing sound and the female has a short, weak “quack.”
They have a captivating behaviour pattern that distinguishes them from other similar species:
- Wild ducks are shy and avoid coming into close human contact. However, they may turn quite aggressive when attacked or cornered.
- Muscovy ducks make low-pitched sounds while wagging their tails to scare potential predators away.
- These perching ducks roost in tree branches in pairs or small groups.
- Te birds are often seen flying in groups during dawn and dusk.
- The males do not generally get far off the ground even though they can fly.
- They fly with their necks held straight like goose.
In the wild
Muscovy ducks prefer watery habitats with dense vegetation and large trees, like rivers, brackish coastal wetlands, ponds and wooded swamps. Escaped domestic birds are often seen in various parks across America.
Muscovy ducks feed on the roots, stems, leaves and seeds of aquatic and terrestrial plants, including agricultural crops. They also eat small fish, reptiles, crustaceans, insects, millipedes and termites.