The Muscovy Duck and the Malayan Water Monitor

on 2nd April 2019
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

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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