Monday, August 26, 2013

Muscovy Ducks

Since early this spring, we have had a male and a female Muscovy duck visiting our neighborhood. They stay in one yard for a while and them move on to another.  The Muscovy ducks are semi-domesticated living around ponds in parks, back yards, and on land near water.  They are native to Mexico, Central and South America.

They do have a distinct coloring:  usually black/brownish with a dash of white.  The male has a rather large comb or crest that raise when he is aggressive or want to show off for the female.  The female has a very small red crest and her head is white.  She is much smaller than the male, almost half his size.

Muscovy Ducks
The male is chauvinistic.  He often surrounds himself with many female ducks and is very aggressive when mating with one or the other females.  He often takes the female forcibly by grabbing her neck and holding her head under water.  The male duck in our neighborhood had two females following him but he finally settled for one.

Neither of of the ducks make any "quacking" sounds as expected.  I have heard the male making a dry hissing sound.  They are quiet ducks.  One way for them to communicate is by shaking their feathered tails.  I have yet to determine if they are happy to see me, or what?

I don't believe that these ducks are being fed by people in our neighborhood.  This prevents them from following people around, begging for food, and making a nuisance of themselves.  They are quite able to find food for themselves.  They live on mosquitos and any sort of bug that is available.  They also eat ants and spiders, even poisonous spiders.  They nibble on grass and feed on weed.  I've also heard that they will forage in a vegetable garden.

It is said that it takes a longer than normal time for the chicks to hatch.  I may have seen a couple of duck eggs not realizing what they were; I have not seen any ducklings around the scenic creek this year.  Is this the end of the Muscovy Duck dynasty?

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