Saturday, April 10, 2010

An Interesting Duck

Last week we saw a duck that looks different than any other duck we've seen at Sugar Creek.  After a little research, I think it is a hybrid between a Mallard and a Muscovy duck (that would be Anas platyryhnchos x Cairina moschata).  If there are any duck experts out there, please let me know if I'm on the right track.  Whatever it is, it's an interesting looking duck with nice green and blue colors in its wings.

Check out the pictures below.  You can click on the picture for a larger image.

In this one, you can see that it is much bigger than most Mallard ducks:

If anyone has any information on this duck, please let me know.


  1. That's a very typical female muscovy, not a cross with a mallard. I raised both muscovies and mallard-derivative breeds for years and I know the difference. Female muscovies fly very well and that's one way the species spreads around as much as it does.

  2. Thanks for your help. The lack of the red face threw me off, but I read it is not as distinct in females. Muscovy ducks show a lot of variation!

  3. I've been around muscovies and mallards for 45 years. That is a smack dab 100% positive mullard i.e. a mallard/muscovy hybrid as you surmised. You are also right about the lack of caruncling in a bird of this age. Good thing your photo is of such high quality that I could zoom in and remove any doubt in my mind.

    I was on some other board last year telling people no that's not a muscovy that's a Cayuga color pattern domestic mallard - no muscovy in it. They thought it was a mullard. The photo was a little shaky in quality but I felt 99% sure.

    Similar to horse/donkey hybrids i.e. mules mullards are sterile. Usually! Mules have chromosome translocations that render about 1/10,000 fertile. The big duck operation people in Taiwan say mullard males are more often fertile than 1/10,000 but its still quite rare. Any gene flow from mullards back to mallards or muscovies in city ponds is thus excruciatingly small and nothing to worry about.

    ...and don't worry about them getting established in the wild. Domestic muscovies, mallards also, can't survive long away from humans. They tried to release wild muscovies in the Everglades in 1968 as a game species and all 140 or so died. No chances for domestic feral birds...except in those city ponds! Now Reticulated pythons...THOSE you should worry about. Hopefully the recent cold snap killed them all.


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