Can Muscovy Ducks Fly?

  • By: CarlBroadbent
  • Time to read: 4 min.
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Ducks are known to fly. Some species migrate over thousands of kilometers and back, while others have relatively short flights, especially in urban areas.

Brown Muscovy ducklings
Cute Muscovy ducklings

But what about Muscovy Ducks? Can they fly as well? The answer is yes.

They may not be the fastest or most beautiful fliers out there, but they can definitely take off and stay in the air for a few minutes.

Can Muscovy Ducks Fly?

Yes, Muscovy ducks can fly. They are not as adept at flying as other ducks, but they can get off the ground and travel short distances.

Wild Muscovies have also been known to fly up to a mile in one direction.

Muscovy duck in a lake
Muscovy duck trying to fly

They use their wings for balance and steering, as well as for flapping while running on land.

While they are able to fly, Muscovy ducks generally prefer to walk or swim.

Few People Know – One of the interesting things about Muscovy Ducks is that they are one of the few species of ducks that do not have waterproof feathers. This means that when they swim, their feathers get wet and they then become very heavy.

To counteract this, they have to flap their wings while swimming in order to keep themselves afloat.

While it is possible for a Muscovy Duck to fly, there are several reasons why you may never see one take flight.

Because of the way that Muscovies live and behave, most people don’t ever get a chance to see them in the air.

Here are two main reasons:

  1. One reason why you may never see a Muscovy take flight is that they tend to live in areas where there are no predators that could harm them while they’re flying. The only time you’re likely to see a Muscovy duck take flight is if it’s flying away from danger or trying to get back to its flock.
  1. Muscovies are also not very good at flying long distances. The longest recorded flight by a wild Muscovy was just over a mile.

So, unless there is something threatening them, you probably won’t see a Muscovy duck take flight.

Is a Muscovy a Duck?

Despite the fact that we refer to the Muscovy as a duck, it is not actually a duck.

The Muscovy is a South American waterfowl with a body and behaviors similar to those of a duck but hisses rather than quacks, has a breast like that of a turkey, and roosters like those of chickens.

Is a Muscovy a Duck?
Muscovy duck behaviors

The Muscovy is a descendant of the wild mallard, a bird from the genus Anas.

Its origin may have been in South America or perhaps as far as Africa or China, but it has been domesticated for many centuries and has been bred into many different varieties.

In Fact – Today there are so many new varieties, with such a vast difference in appearance, that it is very difficult to identify them as all coming from the same original ancestor.

Will Muscovy Ducks Fly Away?

Domestic Muscovy ducks are rarely seen flying away from their captive homes. However, Muscovy ducks can fly away and leave their habitats.

If your Muscovy ducks don’t receive enough food, they may be able to flee.

Muscovy Duck walking around
Muscovy Ducks can fly away

They might also be able to fly away during the summer when they look for somewhere to swim and cool down because their captive habitats may be too hot for them.

If you want to keep your Muscovy ducks from flying away, make sure they have enough food and a cool place to live.

As a defense mechanism, Muscovy ducks may fly away when threatened. If predators target these ducks, they will flee from your yard.

Seasonal changes are also one of the reasons why your Muscovy ducks might fly away.

When other ducks fly over during the migration process, especially in the winter, Muscovy ducks will follow suit.

At What Age Can Muscovy Ducks Fly?

After hatching out of the eggs, Muscovy ducklings start flying between 8 and 12 weeks.

This is a rather long period in comparison to ducks and other birds that are able to fly after 50 – 60 days.

The reason for this difference is that other ducks can run right away whereas Muscovy ducks need time to learn how to walk.

Muscovy Duck having fun in water
Muscovy ducks may fly away when threatened

So, as soon as they are able to balance themselves and can run quickly, Muscovy ducklings take to the air.

The young Muscovies will practice flying by leaping from elevated areas such as branches of trees or rooftops.

By Doing This – They become better fliers and also learn how to dodge predators.

Duck Video x
Duck Video

The Muscovy ducklings can be distinguished from adults by their red fleshy caruncles on the face which are absent in the adults.

The males can also be distinguished by their black or dark green head and neck while the females are generally lighter in color.

Conclusion

The Muscovy duck is a large species of waterfowl that can be found in many parts of North America, but not South America.

These ducks are capable of flight and may fly to escape predators or if they feel threatened.

The Muscovy duck is also known for its aggressive nature and has been known to attack humans.

While they are not the fastest fliers, these ducks can get up to speeds of around 55 miles per hour. So, yes, Muscovy ducks can fly!

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