Muscovy Genetics
This page was created to help the backyard hobbyist/breeder understand basic Muscovy genetics.  I am by
no means an expert, the information contained here is information I have picked up throughout the years
I've owned/raised Muscovy and should be used as a guideline only.  I cannot guarantee that there aren't a
few mistakes or inaccuracies on this page.
White is incompletely dominant gene in Muscovy so breeding white birds to any other color often results
in 'pied' birds.  To the experts, these birds are actually white birds with haphazard color.  Heterozygous
whites, as ducklings, have yellow down with black patches on the cap of their head which are present
only until the first molt.  Heterozygous adults are pure white.  Homozygous white ducklings have yellow
down without the black caps.  They, too, are completely white as adults.  Both will have pink bills and
feet.  Ducklings that have yellow down with dark bills & dark tipped down along the tail feather are
actually barred.  More information on barreds can be found below.
Aside from white, Muscovy come in two base colors, chocolate & black.  All other varieties are derived
from these colors.

Black                        Chocolate
Blue                         Lilac (Blue-Fawn)
Silver                        Buff
Self-Blue                    Cream
Dark Ripple                Chocolate Ripple
Below are diagrams which shows what variety of offspring you could expect from a pairing.  These
diagrams assume that each bird is pure and does not 'carry' other colors - the bird on the left is the drake.

black X black = 100% black ducklings
black X blue = 50% black ducklings, 50% blue ducklings
black X chocolate = 100% black ducklings, drakelets will be chocolate carriers.
black X silver = 100% blue
black X self-blue = black ducklings that carry self-blue (pastel)
Blue is a black with a single dilution gene.  
 blue X blue = 50% blue, 25% black, 25% silver
 blue X silver = 50% blue, 50% silver
 blue X black = 50% black ducklings, 50% blue ducklings
 blue X chocolate = 50% black, 50% blue ducklings, drakelets that carry chocolate.
Silver is a black with two dilution genes.
 silver X black = 100% blue ducklings
 silver X blue = 50% silver, 50% blue ducklings
 silver X silver = 100% silver ducklings
Self-Blue is a black with a pastel gene.
 self-blue X self-blue = 100% self-blue ducklings
 self-blue X chocolate = 100% black ducklings, all carry pastel, drakelets will carry chocolate
 self-blue X cream = 100% self-blue, drakelets will carry cream
Chocolate is the only sex-linked gene.
 chocolate X chocolate = 100% chocolate
 chocolate X black = black drakelets that carry chocolate and chocolate ducklets.
 chocolate X blue = black and blue males that carry chocolate, chocolate and lilac females.
 chocolate X self-blue = black males that carry chocolate and pastel and chocolate females that carry
 chocolate X lilac = 50% chocolate ducklings, 50% lilac ducklings.
Lilac (Blue-Fawn)  There is some confusion as to whether the birds we know as Lilacs are actually
Blue-Fawns.  For the time being this term will be used interchangeably.
 lilac X lilac = 50% lilac, 25% chocolate, 25% buff ducklings
 lilac X chocolate = 50% chocolate ducklings, 50% lilac ducklings
 buff X chocolate = 100% lilac ducklings
 buff X lilac = 50% buff, 50% lilac ducklings
 cream X cream = 100% cream
 cream X self-blue = self-blue drakelets that carry cream and cream ducklets
Aside from the varieties noted above, Muscovy also come in 'patterns'.  Patterns include laced, self, ripple,
& barred.  The self pattern is a feather that is solid in color w/out lacing present.  Lacing is where the
feather's outer edge possesses a darker tint than the rest of the feather.  Barring is a pattern found most
notably in juvenile birds.  As barred birds undergo their first molt, the majority of the barred feathers are
replaced by solid feathers with slightly barred feathers remaining only along the belly, flank, & back of
the bird.  Rippled birds remain rippled throughout life.

The final gene worth noting is the white head gene.  Birds that possess the white head gene can be any
color as well as pied.  Young or juvenile white head birds will appear to be solid birds with a few white
feathers located on the head/neck.  With each subsequent molt, the white will increase until the bird's
entire head is mainly white.    
The duckling to the left has the atipico, or dusky, gene.  It is a black atipico
(dusky) drakelet that carries chocolate and was from a sex-linked Atipico
chocolate drake x Wild-type black duck breeding.  
The ducklings above are considered 'wild type'.  These are from
an Atipico x Wild-type breeding of chocolates.
Muscovy Duck Central © 2006 - 2009
Content not to be copied or quoted without written permission.