Difference Between Ducks and Geese (With Table)

There are many species of birds around the world. According to the new census, there are over 18000 bird species. In this 18,000 species, one can find birds that are very similar to each other in appearance.

Two such birds are ducks and geese. They both have the same appearance from afar. But on closer inspection, one can find that they have more differences between them than similarities.

Ducks vs Geese

The difference between Ducks and Geese is that though they make look similar, ducks are more stout and have shorter and webbed feet. Whereas, geese are long with longer necks. Their feet are more webbed than ducks.

Ducks are stout and bright feathered birds, found mostly near a lake or other still water bodies. They are omnivorous i.e., they have fishes, insects as well as water plants. They are capable of swimming even in extreme cold weathers for hunting fishes and other water insects.

Geese have a longer body proportion than ducks. They have long necks and webbed feet. Usually, they have white or grey feathers, so they can be differentiated easily from ducks. They also belong to the Anseriformes group, like the ducks.

Comparison Table Between Ducks and Geese

Parameters of ComparisonDucksGeese
ColourHave bright coloured feathersHave white or grey feathers, though some can have bright coloured feathers as well.
Physical appearanceAre stouter and shorter with webbed legAre longer with a longer neck and their feet is more webbed
Features of billThe bills are long with the holes high up on the billThe bills are short and narrow with the holes lower
FoodAre omnivorousAre herbivores
BreedingDucks have shorter breeding seasons but have one mate for one seasonGeese have the same mate throughout their life span.
CommunicationThey have a ‘quack’ sound.They have the sound of a loud honk for communication
MigrationThey are not migratory birdsThey are migratory birds.

What are the Ducks?

Ducks are stout and short bird species that belong to the Anseriformes group. They have bright feathers and are found to be near still water bodies like lakes. So, they are great swimmers who can swim even in harsh cold winter.

There are over 90 breeds of ducks. But ducks, in general, are not migratory birds. They are always found within a specific area.

They have short breeding periods but lay around 60-100 eggs in the breeding period. They are also monogamous species, so they stick with one mate throughout the breeding season and find another one for the next one.

Ducks are omnivorous. They have a life-span of approximately 10 years but are easier to breed.

What are Geese?

Geese are birds with long body proportions with a long neck and webbed feet. They also belong to the Anseriformes group like ducks. A goose usually has dirty white or grey feathers.

They are migratory birds with over 30 different breeds. The most common is the Canadian geese. Their natural habitat is also water bodies like the ducks.

They have long breeding periods but lay only 10-12 eggs within this period. Geese have the same mate throughout their life-span of 15 years. Therefore, it is difficult to breed geese as there may be some geese that do not have a mate or has not found their mate yet.

They are usually used only for special occasions due to this reason.

Main Differences Between Ducks and Geese

  1. Ducks have bright coloured feathers whereas geese usually have dirty white or grey feathers. There may be some exceptions in the case of geese as bright feathered geese can be seen, but it won’t be as prominent as the ducks. This makes it easier to differentiate between the two.
  2. The physical appearance, on close observation, can also be seen to be different. While ducks are stouter with webbed leg, geese have a longer body proportion with a long neck. Their feet are more webbed than that of the ducks.
  3. Ducks have a longer and broader bill to help them catch fishes. The holes on the bills are also high up. Whereas, geese have a short and narrow bill with the holes being lower for better chewing of grass.
  4. Ducks are known to be omnivores. They have insects and fishes from the lakes. Geese, on the other hand, are herbivores. They usually feed on grass and short shrubs and bushes.
  5. Though ducks have a short breeding period, they lay around 60-70 eggs. They have one mate for an entire season and find another mate during the next breeding season. But geese have the same mate for the rest of their life and lay only 20-30 eggs per breeding season. They also have a longer breeding period than ducks.
  6. The noises made for communication are also different for the two birds. Ducks have a ‘quack’ sound whereas geese have a loud honking sound.
  7. Ducks are not migratory birds. They stay in the same place that they are bred and grown. But geese are migratory birds. The most common being Canadian geese.


Out of 18,000 bird species around the world, it is common to have some of the species being similar to one another. These birds are usually grouped.  Ducks and geese are such birds that come under the Anseriformes group.

Ducks are short and stout with bright coloured feathers. Their natural habitat is still water bodies like lakes. They have a shorter breeding period that geese, but are easier to breed comparatively. Ducks have long and narrow bills that help in catching fishes.

Geese have longer body proportions but have dirty white or grey feathers. They are migratory birds that are found throughout the world. Geese are mated for life i.e., they have the same mate throughout their life. So it is harder to breed geese as some may not have a mate.

The fact that clearly distinguishes between the two bird types is that while ducks have a long and narrow bill with the holes being high up to help with catching fishes, geese have short and broadbills.


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/fwb.12567
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378113511004081
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