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Reporting Muscovy Ducks to eBird

Confused about Muscovy Ducks in eBird? In general, use whatever option appears on the checklist. If no Muscovy Duck appears, use Muscovy Duck (Domestic type). If more than one option appears, please read on.
  1. Muscovy Duck should be used for wild birds within their natural range. This counts on your list totals.
  2. Muscovy Duck (Domestic type) should be used in almost all cases for Muscovy Ducks that you find outside of the native range of the species. If the species does not appear on the list of expected species, report them as domestics unless the bird is obviously wild and within Muscovy's native range. This does not count on your lists.
  3. Muscovy Duck (Established Feral). Only use this in areas where the species is widely established. As a rule of thumb, only use this option when the species appears on a filter without need for confirmation. This is generally restricted to portions of peninsular Florida and Portugal. This counts on your list totals.
Want to know a bit more? Good. Read on.

Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata) is intended for wild birds within their native range. Wild Muscovy Ducks are large, distinctive Neotropical ducks with wild populations that occur from southernmost Texas to Argentina, including most of Middle America and South America except for Patagonia. Wild type birds are black in color with large white wing patches on upperwing and underwing coverts and have have limited red caruncles on the face. Wild birds are hunted heavily throughout their range, and are often quite wary, breeding in swamplands, along wooded rivers, forested pond edges, and wet forests. The Rio Grande River (especially western portions such as Salineño) is the only reliable place to find wild Muscovies in the United States. These images show the acceptable range of variation for wild Muscovy. Please report wild Muscovy Ducks in eBird as "Muscovy Duck".

Muscovy Duck (Domestic type) is intended for the great majority of free flying domestic Muscovy Ducks found widely throughout the world. As with Mallard and Graylag Goose, this species has been domesticated widely and the appearance of domesticated birds has changed through the process of domestication. These birds tend to have larger and brighter areas of reddish caruncles at the base of the bill, can have completely white or patchy white plumage, often have reddish bills, and are often larger and more tail-heavy than wild birds. They are often released and occur as free-flying unrestrained birds, especially at city parks where they join flocks of domestic type Mallards or domestic geese. Please report these birds in eBird as "Muscovy Duck (Domestic type)" -- occasionally you may need to use "Add a species" (online) or "Search entire database" (eBird Mobile) to search for this taxon. These taxa do not "count" on your life list or other lists in eBird.

Muscovy Duck (Established Feral) is intended for a few specific locations where feral populations of Muscovy Ducks are established. This taxon will appear on the list of most likely species in those areas. This is most common in Florida, where the Florida Ornithological Society Records Committee considers these birds countable on bird lists in that state. Muscovy Ducks are also considered established in Portugal. These birds are derived from domestic stock, so they are similar in appearance to other domestic type Muscovy Ducks. However, possibly due to natural selection in the wild, white birds tend to be rarer in Florida (especially away from city centers) and many birds more closely resemble wild type birds, occasionally with patchy white on the chest or upperparts. However, these birds still often have extremely large areas of reddish caruncles at the bill base. These images show typical examples of the established feral Muscovy Ducks in Florida. Because of how eBird counts birds on your life list, we also have the option to report these birds and have them count on your lists, with the name: Muscovy Duck (Established Feral). Please report these birds in Florida as "Muscovy Duck (Established Feral)" but please try to do so only from areas in southern Florida where these form an established population. In northern Florida and on the Panhandle isolated occurrences of Muscovy Duck may be better reported as Muscovy Duck (Domestic type); the eBird filter will be a guide on this, and will include the "Established Feral" population only where these birds are considered established. 

Below are the eBird maps for these three forms:

Muscovy Duck - eBird map (includes Muscovy Duck and Muscovy Duck (Established Feral), which are validated only in Portugal
Muscovy Duck (Established Feral) - eBird map (includes *only* Muscovy Duck (Established Feral))
Muscovy Duck (Domestic type) - eBird map
 
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