Muscovy Duck

Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata): Pato real; Canard musqué; Moschusente

I’ve always hesitated to write about the Muscovy Duck. Although it is without doubt a native species in Costa Rica, many of the birds here are now domesticated and, with the exception of perhaps the Palo Verde region, it is difficult to find truly wild birds. John’s most recent and very impressive photograph of a male Muscovy at the CATIE laguito has convinced me to submit this short post.

Muscovy Duck at CATIE; photo by John Beer

The species can be easily found in many lowland locations in our area, but tame behaviour and/or white plumage other than in the wings usually can indicate at least semi-domesticated status. This large duck can be found practically world-wide as a domesticated species but most birds show very white plumage and do not much resemble the bird above, which has white only in the wings. Females show even less white in the wings, mostly visible in flight.

However, the Muscovy Ducks at the nearby Angostura Dam, not all of which look much different from wild birds, are considered to be a feral population:

Muscovy Duck with ducklings at Angostura; photo by John Beer

Sharing the environment of the CATIE laguito is a rather different animal, the Spectacled Caiman. I take this opportunity to share the next photo of a particularly large individual that regularly preys on nestlings at the heronry on the little island in the lake.

Spectacled Caiman, CATIE lake; photo by John Beer

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