The Muscovy Duck is also known as the Barbary Duck. Its scientific name - Cairina moschata - means the musky one from Cairo. The duck itself is native to Mexico, Central, and South America. How it got such strange names will probably never be known. Some say it was imported to Europe by the Musocovite Company, another theory is that it took its name from the Muisca Indians, who domesticated it, another is that the name derives from the strong odor of musk the bird exudes, although I have never noticed such an odor, iIn any case, the bird was brought to Europe shortly after the voyage of Columbus, has been raised in Europe for 500 years, and is probably in Cairo by now.
It is a tropical bird but can tolerate temperatures as low as 10 degrees F. Muscovy ducks have long claws, as well as webbing, on their feet and are at home in the water or in the trees. The drake weighs about 10-15 lbs. The female 6-8 lbs. The males grow caruncles at the base of the bill and a low erectile crest of feathers. Our Muscovies came shortly after we built the pond in 2007. There was a male and two females. They mated and produced 14 offspring which are now grown ducks.
June 2010: The original 14 Muscovies mentioned above have come and gone. Later we had a Muscovy with 12 chicks, one of whom had a broken leg. They all died mysteriously except the one with the broken leg. Our small pond and island continues to attract Muscovies, however, and now we have about 24.
June 2011: The Muscovy population is now down to 2 regular ducks. It appears that our Muscovies are being duck napped by a large band of predatory raccoons. It seems the raccoon population has been expanded by people in the area feeding them. They may not have eaten all the ducks that formerly came to our pond. It may be that the Muscovies have become nervous about their presence and spend their time in safer locations.
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