Muscovy Duck



There are two subspecies of this species:

  • Cairina moschata sylvestris (wild subspecies), commonly known as pato real (Spanish) or royal duck
  • Cairina moschata domestica(domestic subspecies) commonly known as pato criollo (Spanish) or creole duck

Several domestic varieties of the ducks have been bred from these two subspecies. These include:

  • Black Muscovy
  • Blue Muscovy
  • Chocolate Brown Muscovy
  • Pied Muscovy (white with any other color)
  • Green Muscovy
  • White Muscovy
  • Lavender Muscovy
  • Bronze Muscovy
  • Barred Muscovy
  • Ripple Muscovy


They have an interesting appearance with certain characteristic features differentiating the male and the female ducks.

Size: Domesticated Muscovy drakes grow around 34 inches (86 cm) in length while domesticated females grow no more than 25 inches (64 cm) in length. The wild Muscovy, which is the predecessor of the domesticated species, is usually 26 inches to 33 inches (66 cm to 84 cm) long.


Weight: The males generally weigh somewhere between 10 lbs and 15 lbs (4.6 kg and 6.8 kg). The hens are much lighter with their average weight ranging from 6 lbs to 7.9 lbs (2.7 kg to 3.6 kg). Wild ducks can weight anywhere from 2.4 lbs to 9 lbs (1.1 kg to 4.1 kg).

Wingspan: The wingspan of the wild species ranges between 54 inches and 64 inches (137 cm and 152 cm).

Color: The wild Muscovy species is blackish in color with distinct white patches on the wing. The face is dark red or blackish with yellowish brown eyes and a black bill marked with pale pink spots. The legs and feet are black in color. The juvenile bird has a duller coloration with or without the white markings on the wings. The domesticated breeds often vary in coloration from one another. Most are black and white or dark brown in color, especially around the head and neck. Other colors including pale white and lavender are also found. Both the male and the female have red or red-black face.

Head: The wild drakes have a short crest on their napes. The domestic males have a dark red or blackish knob at the base of their bills while the females have feathered face. The prominent knob on the head is absent in females which is one of the main differences between males and females.

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© Kelly Santilli