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Duck Vs. Goose: What’s The Difference?

Almost every person in this world knows about the existence of ducks and gooses. They are important animals in multiple countries and societies, and are even important in some TV shows, like The Sopranos. However, do you know what is the difference between a duck and a goose?

Both are freshwater birds that belong to the family Anatidae, but ducks are found everywhere, except for Antarctica which is too cold for them. They are omnivorous, calm, and also quiet. Gooses are mostly found in Europe, Asia, and North America. They are generally herbivorous and they do not quack.

Are you still confused about the difference between them? Don’t worry, it is common to have some trouble while trying to figure out how these animals are not the same. They are very similar. If you want to know what makes a duck different from a goose, keep on reading.

The Real Difference Between Duck And Goose

Ducks are medium-sized kinds of aquatic birds that can be found almost everywhere in the world. There are around 90 species of ducks, each one with its own specific characteristics. Some of them migrate seasonally to avoid cold weather.

They generally live close to water bodies such as ponds, lakes, rivers, marshes, and more. Most people think that ducks are aggressive animals, but that is not true.

Ducks are usually calms and quiet animals that take a long time to react to unwanted company or even uncomfortable sounds. However, this is not an invitation to go mess around with a duck. Leave them be.

They are omnivorous animals, so they can eat both animals and plants. Commonly they eat small fishes, aquatic plants, insects, and grubs, but it depends on where they live and which species they belong to.

A female duck is called a duck, but a male duck is called a drake. Ducklings are baby ducks. Unfortunately for them, ducks are vulnerable birds with a lot of natural predators like foxes, humans, large fishes, wolves, crocodiles, and more. They are farmed for their feathers, eggs, and meat. Some people have ducks as pets.

Ducks have a unique and very interesting filtering system in their mouth that allows them to filter water out of their beaks without losing their food. Overall, ducks are short animals and stout. Of course, some species are bigger than others.

A duck’s neck is smaller than a geese’s neck. Both animals have webbed feet so they can navigate easily in water. However, the webbing on a duck’s foot is typically less noticeable than that on a goose’s foot.

Ducks have flat and wide bills. Their nostrils are placed high on the bill, and they usually are more colorful than geese, but they both can be multicolored. There are three major groupings of ducks, which are dabbling ducks, diving ducks, and sea ducks.

Dabbling ducks tip their heads underwater to eat. Diving ducks dive and swim underwater in order to seek and catch prey, as you may have noticed. The sea ducks are also diving ducks that commonly live on the seashore and in marine habitats.

A major difference between these two animals is the sound that they make. All species of a duck quack, but geese honk. You may notice some geese honking while they are flying along in a V formation to alert their mates to the presence of predators and strangers. This makes them excellent watch animals.

A goose (plural: geese) is also an aquatic bird. They are medium to large-sized animals that can be mostly found in Europe, North America, and Asia. There is something around 29 species of geese.

The easiest way to spot a goose is to notice its long neck and the absence of non-iridescent colors. Geese tend to have extremely strong wings because they need to cover long distances every year since they migrate to warmer places when it is necessary.

They can be a little more aggressive than ducks. For example, they tend to flap their wings and even make hissing noise to intimate unwanted company. You don’t want to mess around a goose. They make a V formation while flying so they can reduce the air friction. A group of geese is called a gaggle, and baby geese are called goslings.

Geese are mostly herbivorous as they eat grass, especially short grass. However, sometimes they can eat small insects and fish. Their bills are designed for grazing on grasses, shrubs, and plants.

Geese tend to mate for life, so they grieve to death when their mate dies. On the other hand, ducks mate for only a season. They can choose a new mate the next year if there is a mate available.

The duck parents don’t share the care of the eggs and the ducklings. The mommy ducks to most of these duties and are basically single mothers. However, geese often share parenting chores.

Both animals are sociable and commonly live in a flock, since they like to be around other animals of their kind.

Both animals will imprint on the first living thing they see when they hatch, which explains the videos of ducklings being taken care of by cats that you may have seen on the internet.

This can lead to some problems though since a cat is not a duck. It is best for both ducks and geese to imprint on their own parents.

Geese are often kept in farms to control weed as they eat it. Also, they are a very noisy natural alarm system. Some farms can keep them for meat production.

Geese and ducks are friendly animals, but ducks are naturally friendlier, so it is most likely that you get to befriend a duck faster than you get to befriend a goose. That explains why we often see ducks portrait in a much funnier and friendlier way than geese.

The nice thing is that geese can be a little more complex and interesting than ducks since they can befriend a human in a similar way to dogs. For example, geese become defensive of their keepers, but ducks don’t.

  • They quack;
  • There are more than 90 species of ducks;
  • They live almost everywhere in the world, except the Antarctic;
  • Male ducks have bright plumages;
  • Ducks are medium-sized aquatic birds;
  • They are smaller than geese, and have a smaller neck as well;
  • Ducks are omnivorous;
  • They are very calm and quiet animals;
  • They honk;
  • They are bigger than ducks and have a longer neck;
  • There are 29 species of geese;
  • They are commonly found in Asia, North America, and Europe;
  • Most geese are white, black, or grey;
  • They are herbivorous;
  • They are medium large-sized aquatic birds;
  • They mate for life and can grieve to death if their mate dies;
  • They are sociable, but can be aggressive;

Can A Duck And A Goose Mate?

Yes, they can, but the resulting eggs will not be fertile. The mating is not hurtful for them though. Some eggs can even survive, which will lead to an infertile animal. The reason is the different number of chromosomes.

Is Duck Better Than Goose?

It depends on the criteria. Is a duck a better pet than a goose? It depends on what you are looking for. Overall, ducks are more friendly, but not as smart as geese may be. Geese can be very protective of their keepers and their eggs. Ducks can be fun animals to keep around. So I can’t answer if a duck is better than a goose.

Which Is Tastier: Duck Or Goose?

Again, it depends. Everyone has a different palate. Some countries like to eat a kind more than the other. You may have heard about Peking Duck, which is a traditional and famous Chinese dish created in Beijing. Most people prefer to eat wild ducks than geese.

What’s The Difference Between A Duck, Goose, And Swan?

You already know the difference between a duck and a goose, but what is the difference between these two animals and a swan?

A swan is a larger animal with a larger neck than a goose and a duck, but they tend to have smaller legs. They are either fully white, fully black, or white with black spots. Swans tend to be less social than geese and ducks. Unfortunately, swans are considered to be threatened animals, so they may go extinct if we don’t take proper care of them.

James Smith

James is a passionate explorer and the creative mind behind, a platform dedicated to unraveling captivating distinctions. With an insatiable curiosity, he uncovers hidden nuances in various aspects of life, from cultural traditions to scientific phenomena. James believes that appreciating differences fosters personal growth and societal empathy.