How to tell the sex of muscovy ducks

Updated July 20, 2017

Muscovy ducks are brightly coloured, and strikingly patterned waterfowl popular in community and personal ponds. The unmistakable animated quack sets Muscovy's apart from other traditionally quite breeds. Male Muscovy ducks are known as drakes, while females are known as hens. Determining the gender of Muscovy ducks can be difficult, as males and females aren't patterned differently. While there is no way to determine the sex of a young Muscovy duckling by appearance, following these steps will allow you to distinguish between mature drake and hen Muscovy ducks.

Listen to the call of the ducks. Hens will sing out, whereas drakes will hiss as they quack.

Look at the differences in the Muscovy's masks. The area between the eye and beak will be less prominent in females, while males will have more elaborate and swollen facial masks.

Watch how the ducks walk. Male Muscovy ducks will shake their tail feathers as they strut around the pond. Female Muscovy ducks will walk gingerly, and appear shy.

Look for differences in the ducks sizes. Drakes are substantially larger than hens. Hens have a smooth appearance, while drakes look fluffy and heavy.


Muscovy drakes are social, and will gladly accept a treat.


Beware of getting close to Muscovy ducks during the spring, as the drake and hen will be guarding their nest.

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About the Author

Elaina Wingfield has been writing professionally since 2002. Her work has been published by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. She specializes in history, religion, public speaking and home life. Wingfield holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Salem College, and is pursuing a Master of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.