Muscovy ducks (Cairina moschata) are native to South America, Central America, and Mexico. The species is commonly domesticated and raised for meat across the globe. Escaped or intentionally introduced populations have become established in many suburban areas, although they are little studied. A total of 642 individual time-activity budgets were collected for invasive Muscovy ducks in Tampa, Florida, USA, in order to quantify habitat use and behavioural patterns. Muscovy ducks utilized a variety of cover types, including open water, shoreline, grass, tree, shrub, and urban habitats. Muscovy ducks foraged by dabbling, gleaning, grazing, and probing, while occasionally obtaining, meals from human sources. They spent about 12% of the time in open water, which was used primarily for swimming, foraging, and bathing. Pond shorelines (13%) were used for roosting at night and for resting and comfort, foraging, and other activities during the day. Grass (42%) and tree cover (18%) were important habitats for foraging, while shrubs (8%) and urban habitats (7%) were mostly used for resting and comfort activities. Social, reproductive, agnostic, and alert behaviours were also studied. The findings of this study show that free-ranging populations of domesticated Muscovy ducks are highly adapted to human activity, and they display different habitat usage and nesting habits than their wild counterparts, which occupy forested riparian areas and nest in tree cavities.
Downs, Joni; Loraamm, Rebecca; Anderson, James Howard Jr.; Perry, Jacqueline; and Bullock, Jessica
"Habitat Use and Behaviours of Introduced Muscovy Ducks (Cairina moschata) in Urban and Suburban Environments,"
Suburban Sustainability: Vol. 5
, Article 1.
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/subsust/vol5/iss1/1