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Difference Between Duck and Goose

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The main difference between duck and goose is that they are distinct freshwater birds belonging to the same family called Anatidae. They are typically found in freshwater areas like lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, and marshes. While they are parts of an identical family, they differ in terms of dimensions, shape, color and behavior.

What is Duck?


The duck is a medium, aquatic bird belonging to the Anatidae family. They are everywhere in the world except Antarctica because it's extremely cold for the birds there. They live near lakes, rivers, ponds, marshes, etc. They are omnivores, taking in grubs, insects, small fishes, and aquatic vegetation. They are quiet and peaceful creatures and generally take a while to react to any unpleasant disturbances or unwelcome company.

A male duck is known as Drake, while female ducks are referred to as ducks. The babies of ducks are referred to as ducklings. They are vulnerable birds and are home to various natural predators, including big foxes, wolves, human beings, fishes, and crocodiles. They have a unique system of filtering inside their mouths that help them remove water from their beaks and not lose food. They are raised for eggs, meat, and feathers.

What is Goose?


The goose is a large-sized bird that is located throughout Asia, Europe and North America. One of the most notable characteristics of the goose is its long neck and lack of non-iridescent colors. They are herbivores since they eat grass. However, occasionally, they will take small fish or insects for a meal. The natural predators of the goose include eagles and wolves, as well as bears and foxes. The lifespan of a goose is 20 to 30 years.

Geese have robust wings, as they travel vast distances yearly while migrating to warmer climates. They are known to flap their wings and make sounds to frighten off unwanted guests. The young geese are referred to as goslings. The group of geese is known as a gaggle. They form a V during flight to decrease the friction in the air and extend their flight range.

Differences between Duck and Goose

Shape and Size

Geese are typically bigger and more muscular than ducks and are more elongated in their bodies. Ducks have generally shorter legs that are higher up on their bodies. Both species have webbed feet, except for the feet of Hawaiian geese, which are not fully webbed. Also, the webbed feet of geese are often more noticeable than the webbing on the feet of ducks.


Ducks have a wide flat bill that extends at or near eye level with nostrils at an elevation. They use their bill for hunting in search of snails, crustaceans, fish, worms and aquatic plants in the water and soil. Geese are humped, with shorter bills with an incline that can reach over their head with nostrils placed further lower. They are herbivores who use their bill to feed on the ground.


True geese usually are grey or white and are divided into two categories: dark-breasted geese and pale-breasted geese. They all have orange, pink or yellow bills and legs. Geese aren't sexually dimorphic; that is to say, there are no differences between females and males. However, ganders are slightly larger, but the size isn't a reliable indication of sexuality.

Ducks come with a wide range of plumage, exhibiting distinct sexual dimorphisms, with Drakes appearing more brightly colored than females and sometimes showing metallic or iridescent feathers.


Despite having a larger stature, geese are herbivores, meaning they consume plants. They don't prefer the plants they eat; they eat aquatic plants and above-ground vegetation. Sometimes, certain species of geese might take pleasure in small insects; however, their primary diet is one of a strict vegetarian.

Ducks are incredibly multi-seaters, meaning they eat both plants and meat. A few varieties of ducks, including diving ducks, look underwater to find their food sources. However, all duck species are omnivores and eat worms, fish, snails, insects, and aquatic plants.

Comparison Chart: Duck Vs Goose

Physical appearanceIt has a slim, muscular body and shorter legsA longer neck, body, and legs
FoodDucks are omnivores that feed on small fish, insects, and aquatic vegetationGoose is generally herbivore and thus prefers to eat tiny grasses
FeathersDucks have bright plumageIt has grey, white, or black feathers
SpeciesThere are about 90 varieties of Ducks in the worldThere are about 30 species of Geese around the globe
MigrationDucks do not migrateGeese are migratory birds

Similarities Between Ducks & Geese

Ducks and geese are often seen around lakes or rivers, and waterfalls. They both are part of the category of birds that are waterfowl. The birds thrive in freshwater ecosystems because of their capacity to live on land and in water. Another species of bird you might recognize is the swan. This is also part of the waterfowl group of birds.

Their habitats of choice are due to their physical characteristics, which are evident in how both ducks and geese are equipped with webbed feet. Webbed feet enable ducks and geese to swim more effectively underwater and in the air.


Can Ducks Reproduce With Geese?

Waterfowl are more likely to crossbreed than any other group of birds, with records of more than 400 hybrids. Ducks are not able to breed with the goose. Different geese and ducks have a breeding relationship, with mallards being the most popular ducks to mate with other birds of prey. Mallards are known for breeding with pintails, black ducks, wigeons, gadwalls, shovelers, and teal.

When two species mate and produce fertile offspring. However, when mallards breed with their closest cousins, they create fertile hybrids. Ruddy ducks have interbred with white-headed birds to create fertile hybrids, which have led to the decline of the white-headed duck population.

Which Breed Is Right For You?

If you're searching for an animal that will provide you with plenty of nutritious eggs and tender, healthy meat, ducks are your ideal option. Geese eggs are nutritious and delicious but lay less often than ducks.

Ducks and geese are excellent selections if you're searching for a gorgeous pet bird to add to your property. Geese make excellent alarms and will alert you of the presence of any animals or people. They're also stronger and live longer than ducks. Geese are the ideal choice if you're seeking a pet that requires little maintenance.

Are Ducks Domesticated Geese?

No, the domesticated goose originates from greylag and swan goose. You might be shocked to find out that geese were historically the species of poultry that first came into domestication around 6000 years ago.


A goose and a duck may be part of the same Anatidae family and share some traits; however, they differ in numerous ways. Both are aquatic birds, but they're quite distinct from one another.

A Duck is a bright-feathered bird with an imposing body and long legs. These birds of the water are peaceful. They have a brief breeding season, but they can lay as many as 60 to 100 eggs in that time. Ducks are non-migratory species that are typically located in large areas.

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About the Author: Nicolas Seignette

Nicolas Seignette, who holds a scientific baccalaureate, began his studies in mathematics and computer science applied to human and social sciences (MIASHS). He then continued his university studies with a DEUST WMI (Webmaster and Internet professions) at the University of Limoges before finishing his course with a professional license specialized in the IT professions. On 10Differences, he is in charge of the research and the writing of the articles concerning technology, sciences and mathematics.
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