#14. Muscovy Duck
This is not your run of the mill quacking birdie; this is one ugly duckling that retains its hideous looks even after growing up. In fact, people are so taken aback by its physical characteristics that even when bred for eating, they prefer to go for a bird with white plumage, the color lending some modicum of pleasantness to its otherwise horrifying looks.
Larger than the average duck, the Muscovy drake has a length of almost 34 inches and can weigh almost 7 kg. The hens are smaller at 25 inches in length and they tip the scale at about 3.5 kg. The plumage is predominantly black with white patches in true, wild Muscovy ducks. However, domestic birds can have a variety of colors and markings.
The most objectionable feature is retained in the form of the naked head and face, which is either all red or a combination of black and red. But, that is not all; the beak, which is usually black and speckled with pink, has a red knob at its base that looks like an untreated, angry boil. Wild females do not have this characteristic facial trait.
Muscovy Duck Breeding and Other Behavior
The males of the genus make a low, breathy hissing sound, but the females are known for their shrill cooing. All in all, these birds are certainly not known for the quacking associated with ducks, which is one of the reasons why many people say that the Muscovy is not a real duck at all. A native of South America, this bird did not descend from mallards like regular ducks.
Muscovy ducks mate on land or in water. If the amorous act occurs in water, the heavier and larger male almost submerges the female. When domesticated, these birds breed two or three times a year and every hatch is comprised of 8 to 13 eggs. Despite the fact that the ugly bird gene is carried to the chicks, Muscovy ducks make doting parents, with the female leaving her nest for only 20 minutes each day when hatching her eggs.
The drake also helps in caring for the ducklings and is often seen walking with his young ones. Muscovy ducks can thrive without a large body of water. They feed on grains, corn and grass, but their favorite snacks are flies and mosquitoes.
Unusual Facts about Muscovy Ducks
The Muscovy may not be pretty enough to be featured in the media but there are some interesting facts about this bird. For example, they don’t mate for life, they are shockingly prodigious poopers and popular males bag all the chicks while the other males hang out in bachelor groups.