New Zealand Status: Introduced
Conservation Status: n/a
Cairina moschata, commonly known as Muscovy Ducks, are large ducks with highly variable plumage. Wild muscovy ducks have a dark plumage and white wings. In New Zealand, feral muscovy ducks are domesticated birds that have either escaped captivity or been illegally released.
Most muscovy ducks in NZ are either plain white or pied with the pied birds having a green sheen on their dark feathers. A small crest may be raised when birds are alarmed. Their bill is either entirely pink or pink-and-blackish, and its base is surrounded by bright red caruncles. They have relatively short, pale orange legs and feet, and are less mobile on land than other ducks. Their toes have long, sharp claws. The male is much larger than the female and can weigh over twice as much.
Cairina moschata is not considered to be established in the wild in New Zealand. Their population is sparsely distributed throughout the country, usually close to human habitation, on lakes, ponds and slow-flowing streams.
© Geografpix Photography, Steve Reader