Nuisance Muscovy Ducks
Muscovy ducks have been introduced into urban and suburban areas in Florida where they often occur in high densities. These birds were illegally released, primarily by private individuals for ornamental purposes or as pets. Muscovy ducks can be extremely prolific and local populations, if uncontrolled, can increase dramatically in a short time. As a result, controversies frequently arise between residents who enjoy the birds and residents who consider them a nuisance.
Because this invasive species sometimes creates problems through competition with native species, damage to property, and transmission of disease, in 2010 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) revised its regulations concerning muscovy ducks (see link below).
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a permit to possess muscovy ducks?
No permit is required to possess muscovy ducks. However, both Florida Statute 379.231 and federal regulations 50 CFR 21.25(b)(8)(i) prohibit the release of muscovy ducks, so they must be kept in a captive situation where they will not come into contact with native wildlife and will not escape captivity.
Do I need a permit to remove muscovy ducks from my property?
No. If the ducks are yours or have no identifiable owner and are on your property, Federal regulations allow control by landowners, wildlife management agencies, and tenants, agents, or employees without federal or state permits. Captured birds may be humanely euthanized, but it is illegal to capture the birds and release them elsewhere.
If the bird’s owner(s) can be identified, make them aware of the state and Federal rules that prohibit the release of muscovy ducks. You may contact the FWC Waterfowl Management Program at 850-488-5878 if problems persist.
How do I catch muscovy ducks?
If the birds are accustomed to being fed, you can often bait them in and get close enough to capture them by net. Funnel traps made of welded-wire and baited with corn can also be used. Some trappers will remove muscovy ducks for a fee. A list of nuisance wildlife trappers (searchable by county) can be found at the bottom of this page. Remember, it is a violation of Federal regulations to relocate these birds.
Why is it illegal to release muscovy ducks?
We consider muscovy ducks to be undesirable in the wild because of their potential to transmit diseases to or interbreed with Florida's native waterfowl. Furthermore, muscovy duck populations can increase quickly, which can lead to conflicts between neighbors, excessive nutrient loading in small ponds, and messy sidewalks and driveways. For more information on the prohibition of releasing or relocating muscovy ducks, please see the Federal Control Order below (50 CFR 21.25 (b)(8)(i) and 50 CFR 21.54, paragraph c).
Federal Control Order for Muscovy Ducks (USFWS, 50 CFR 21)
FAQ’s regarding Muscovy Ducks and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (USFWS)
Florida Statute 379.231
Find a nuisance wildlife trapper in your county