Our ugly duck for today is the Muscovy duck is easily identifiable thanks to its vivid red caruncles.
Many South American indigenous peoples regularly consume eggs and meat from this odd-looking bird.
Despite being a tropical bird by nature, it has successfully adapted to a variety of environments and can survive in temperatures as low as 10°F.
Where there are small feral colonies, it has become widespread throughout most of the US, New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and Europe.
History Of The Muscovy Ugly Duck
In reality, Mexico, Central America, and Southern America are the native habitats of the wild Muscovy duck. It goes by the names Greater Wood Duck and Forest Duck as well.
A tamed type of Muscovy was a companion to the local indigenous people before Columbus arrived.
The wild Muscovy pato real and the domestic Muscovy pato criollo got names from the Spanish when they first came across the duck.
Ulisse Aldrovandi made reference to the Muscovy duck, but Carl Linnaeus did not formally describe and list it until 1758.
The Muscovy isn’t actually a duck, despite its name. Although they are close to ducks, they are not really related. The only duck that is not bred from Mallard stock is the Muscovy. An infertile Mulard would be the result of mating a Muscovy with a Pekin. In actuality, some individuals do this and utilize mallards as meat birds. There are more well-known duck breeds that are good for meat, though.
It grazes like a goose, thus it is probably as closely related to the goose family as ducks are.
The Appearance Of The Muscovy Ugly Duck
The Muscovy is a big duck with a wingspan that can reach 64 inches. It is a large breed that can weigh up to 15 pounds, while girls tend to weigh a little less, about 6-7 pounds.
The ladies can fly, but because the males are so hefty, you will need to clip their wings in order to keep them from fleeing.
It has a wide, flat tail and a long, broad body (males are about 30 inches long). Although black and white are the most common colors, there are many varieties, including blue, black, chocolate, pied (white mixed with any color), green, white, lavender, bronze, barred, and rippled.
The female’s plumage is more subdued and dull in order to provide camouflage when sitting on the nest, whereas the male’s black feathers are iridescent in the sunlight.
Its head is special. The caruncles on the face will be a dark reddish-black color; they will slowly grow and appear on boys sooner than on girls.
On the male, the caruncles are larger and more vibrant. At the base of his beak, the mature male will have a sizable dark reddish-black knob.
The bird will raise the crest of erectile feathers on top of its head when it is anxious; the crest is greater in males. In order to entice a mate, the males will raise the crest during courtship.
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The eyes have a brownish-yellow tint. A nictitating membrane in the eyes gives them the ability to see underwater. The flat bill comes in any color combination, including yellow, pink, and black. Pink “spots” may also appear on it.
Because the webbed feet have extended claws, they are distinctive.
They can perch on trees thanks to these claws, therefore the name “larger wood duck.” The legs and feet are all blacks.
Why Do People Maintain Muscovy Ugly Ducks?
For a few hundred years now, Muscovy was good for its meat and eggs.
It produces the most flesh of any duck. The meat is 98% fat-free, far less oily than meat from other ducks, and has 50% more breast meat overall than a typical duck. Additionally, it contains less fat and calories per pound than a turkey.
The flavor of the meat is strong, although this will depend on the diet and nutritional status of your duck. The flavor of the flesh has been compared to ham, veal, or roast beef.
The eggs are enormous and white, and pastry chefs all over the world adore them. Because duck eggs have more albumin than chicken eggs, the pastries they produce are fluffier.
The Muscovy duck is exceptionally quiet; it does not quack like other ducks. Unless they are assaulted or agitated, they are often fairly silent.
The males make a low, hushed call, while the females make a gentle, trilling sound.
They frequently wag their tails when joyful, happy, or aroused. The males can also puff and hiss.
Although Muscovies have a lifespan of 8 to 12 years on average, they can live up to 20 years in captivity.
They have excellent health. Keep a watch out for any issues as birds with big or excessive caruncles may be more susceptible to frostbite in colder climates.
Does the Muscovy Ugly Duck Fit Your Lifestyle?
The Muscovy is not the duck for you if you want one that produces a lot of eggs, matures quickly, and is frugal. The Muscovy, on the other hand, is a peaceful, amiable duck.
Additionally, it grows slowly and takes time to reach its maximum size.
The cost of feeding them increases along with their slow growth, even though they can typically gather most of their own food from the wild.
The Muscovy is a personable duck with a pleasant disposition. They appreciate the human company even if they don’t want to be taken up and petted (also good with children).
Except during the mating and raising season, when they can turn territorial and hostile toward their partners and young, they are not violent.
A 1/4 acre or more is better, while small backyards are not truly ideal.
Muscovies have personalities and are calm, peaceful ducks. They use their tails to communicate, wagging them wildly when excited or delighted, just like dogs do.
As long as there is adequate protection, they can survive cold temperatures pretty well. Unless the weather is extremely bad, they rarely migrate.