Amorous Cairina moschata domesticus.
Last summer our friend Jen gave us three white Muscovy ducks (one male and two females).
In the world of domestic ducks, there are Mallards, lots of ducks derived from Mallards, and Muscovies.
In researching Muscovies I was surprised to find how long they'd been domesticated - at least 500 years and possibly more. Columbus saw them in the West Indies.
They don't quack like other ducks; the males hiss and the females make a sort of trilling noise. (The trilling is actually a soothing sound. The hissing, not so much.)
They don't walk like other ducks; the head lunges back and forth while the tail wags from side to side. They pretty much do this when they're standing still too.
They don’t like the water as much as other ducks, but can fly better than most.
They are also fairly ugly. They have bright red warty areas around their bills. The wild version (in Latin America) is mostly black, and is infinitely more attractive. Domestic Muscovies are usually black and white. To me the pure white ones are more handsome.
Everything is exaggerated on the males: their size is much larger, they exhibit bigger lunging movements and more tail wagging, and they have an expanded warty area (for extra ugly).
You might wonder why we wanted them.
Because homestead lore claims that they love to eat mosquitoes. Really though I think that ducks love to eat just about any bug that they can catch.
You can make pets out of chickens, especially if you start handling them when they're very young. But you'll never make friends with a duck. They just don’t want to have that much to do with you.
In this the Muscovies are also different, especially the males. Ours likes to follow us around.
If you stand still anywhere in the yard for more than a minute he'll be right beside you, lunging, wagging, and hissing. If you stand still long enough, he'll nibble at your feet.
While you're still thinking “Oh how cute!” he'll start pulling on your pants leg. At first it seems funny, but if you don't move away within a few seconds, he’ll alternate pinching and stabbing you with his bill. Hard!
Once I figured out this behavior, naturally I tried not to stand still for very long if he's around. But sometimes he's insistent and will run after me. Muscovies are the cheetahs of the duck world. You can't outrun them.
I'm divided on whether this is hate or love on the part of the Muscovy... territorial response or misplaced affection?