The Muscovy Duck and the Malayan Water Monitor

Video grab.

“The Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata) and me have one thing in common, we will run away if the monitor lizard come to close”, so says MeiLin Khoo who video-recorded the confrontation between the duck and the Malayan Water Monitor (Varanus salvator) at the Singapore Botanical Gardens’ Eco Lake on 19th March 2019.

The Malayan Water Monitor is a carnivor, eating lizards, small mammals, fish and birds. It chases its prey as seen in the video above. It is a good swimmer and can catch fish for its dinner. When cornered, it can attack humans by biting with its sharp teeth and thrashing with its powerful tail. Its sharp claws can also inflict serious injuries.

Video grab.

The Muscovy Duck is native to Tropical America – from Mexico S to E Peru and N Uruguay. Its presence at the Singapore Botanical Gardens probably means that it is either an escapee or has been “provided with permanent residency”. Note that when threatened, it can make itself seen larger than what it is by raising its wings. However, it is no match against the lizard.

Video grab.

According to Malaysian birder Tou Jing Yi, “It’s a common species domesticated in South East Asia, but this plumage morph is indeed quite rare in SEA, I see them more often in Taiwan. Those here are usually pure white varieties.”

MeiLin Khoo (Singapore) & Tou Jing Yi (Malaysia)
20th March 2019

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