Waterbirds like geese and ducks are in the same family Anatidae. These birds are adapted for swimming, diving in at shallow water, and floating on the water surface. In general, Ducks and Geese are monogamous breeders and classified as waterfowls which means they need access to water.
A lot of people can easily spot the difference between chickens, pigeons, and ducks but lots of people find it challenging to distinguish between geese vs ducks. The truth is, these two species of birds look similar, and they live on and around water bodies. Geese and ducks have similar biological makeup.
So, are geese ducks? No, geese are not ducks; however, due to their nature and some similar features between them, lots of people tend to get confused.
This informative article aims to provide readers with the difference between geese vs duck, so when you spot any, you can easily recognize it.
How can you distinguish between ducks and geese just by looking at them? You might think this is a dumb question, but I have heard lots of people asking these questions. Despite some common morphological features between these birds, there are a few visible differences.
Geese and Ducks have uncontrollable hunting habit and known for polluting water bodies around them. Once you learn more about one of them, you can easily distinguish them.
They are medium-sized birds that are found all around the world except in Antarctica that is very bad for them due to the cold weather. Generally, Ducks are classified as omnivorous as they sometimes feed on grubs, small insects, fishes and some aquatic plants.
Male ducks are called Drakes, and female ducks are referred to as Ducks or hens while baby ducks are referred to as ducklings.
Read Also: What Does Coyote Poop Look Like?
Geese (sing: Goose)
Geese are medium to large-sized birds. One significant feature of geese is their long necks. These birds are found mostly in Asia, Europe and North America. Geese are herbivorous animals as they eat grass, grain and seeds, but they sometimes eat fish and small insects.
They can live up to 30 years in captivity, if taking care of properly. A male goose is called gander, and a female goose is called the goose and baby geese are referred to as goslings.
The Differences Geese Vs Ducks
Body Size and Neck Length
Generally, most geese are larger than ducks and have longer necks than ducks. Also, they have longer legs and elongated bodies than ducks. Ducks are smaller with short legs. Geese’s necks are made up of about 17 to 23 vertebrae while ducks have about 16 or fewer neck vertebrae.
Ducks tend to be docile but skittish. Ducks are very protective of their members and the young ones. Geese are more naturally territorial and more assertive than ducks. However, Both birds operate in a pecking order.
The vocal noises of both birds are noticeably different. Generally, geese communicate by making honking sounds; they do not quack. In contrast, ducks communicate by making use of quacking sounds/noises.
Shape of Bill
Both birds bills, also known as beaks, is different. Geese have shorter bills when compared to that of ducks, and their nostrils are positioned lower on their becks. Ducks bills are flatter and have high positioned nostrils.
Geese are herbivorous, and their notched becks/bills are built for grazing of shrubs and grasses. Geese naturally eat roots, stems, shoots, bulbs, seeds, leaves of grass and grain, berries and aquatic plant. They sometimes eat fishes and insect, but they enjoy eating plants and grasses more.
Ducks are omnivorous; they use their broad bill to get a grip of small insects, fishes in the water, worms, aquatic plants, frogs, plants on land and frogs.
Ducks and Geese have very different color variations on their bodies or feathers. Most species of geese come in black, grey and white color and sometimes with different spots. While some species of ducks come in different colors like green, black, orange, yellow or even white.
It is observed that in ducks, the males have brighter colors than the female, but in geese, there is no noticeable difference in color.
Size of Eggs.
Geese eggs are bigger than ducks eggs in sizes. Wild geese can lay up to 3-7 eggs at a time while wild ducks can lay between 4-18 eggs at a time, although this depends on the breed.
Lots of factors can determine the longevity of these two waterfowls. In general, Geese tends to be hardier than ducks; they have a longer lifespan than ducks. Ducks lifespan ranges between 10 to 15 years while geese lifespan can be between 15-30 years: a goose and a duck in captivity or farm-raised lives longer than the wild species.
Feather and Feet
Geese and ducks feathers are designed to shed water. Their feathers are created in a way that it can not absorb water. These birds possess webbed feet and built for swimming aside from the Hawaiian nene geese that their feet are only half webbed with longer toes used for climbing.
However, geese webbing feet are more prominent than that of ducks
Breeding / Mating
Both ducks and geese are monogamous birds; they stick with a partner during mating seasons. Most duck species find a new mate each year, while geese usually remain with the same partner for a lifetime.
These birds usually form a bond between months December and March. In incubating the eggs, mother ducks are very devoted and in the rearing of the chicks, while the father ducks do nothing. However, in geese, both parents work together from incubating the eggs and raising their babies.
Ducks and geese are domestically raised for their eggs, meat and feathers. Their down feathers are used in the production of pillows. If you need to get rid of unwanted weed from your farmland or field, geese can be of help instead of making use of harmful herbicides that can destroy your crops.
Tabular Differences Between Geese Vs Ducks
|Sounds||Honking sounds||Quacking sounds|
|Lifespan||15-30 years||10-15 years|
|Diets||They are herbivorous. Geese naturally eat roots, stems, shoots, bulbs, seeds, leaves of grass and grain, berries and aquatic plant.||Ducks are Omnivorous. They eat small insects, fishes in the water, waorms, aquatic plants, frogs, plants on land and frogs.|
|Feather/Feet||They have webbed feet except for some species like Nene geese that has half-webbed feet. Their down feathers are used for high-grade insulation material||Webbed feet. Their feathers can be cast into resin and used to make pens and for art works.|
|Breeding/Mating||remain with the same partner for a lifetime.||Find a new mate each year|
Which are better as pets, ducks vs geese?
A lot of people is going to have a different experience from having geese and ducks as a pet. I have raised both birds, and below are my honest opinion. Both birds tend to hang out together, but geese are more vocal and leave lesser messes.
My geese tend to be more friendly and aggressive with humans than ducks. However, both birds make good pets. You also need to remember that geese and ducks can never behave like cats or dogs but based on their individuality and personality, they can be more or less friendly and interactive.
They can be trained to sit in your laps, play with toys and more. If you need to adopt one as a pet, I would recommend you going for a Goose.
Geese tend to behave like dogs, and if they know you very well, they will always follow you around, while ducks are like goats, that only come closer to you when they are hungry. If you care for geese very well, they will show you emotion back.
If you have farmland, I will recommend getting a duck; they are better than keeping chickens on farms as they won’t destroy or scratch around your plants. However, they even help you perform some tasks, such as eliminating young and succulent weeds and pests.
Are Ducks and geese easy to care for?
Yes, they can be easily cared for. You need to build a simple and predator-proof structure house that will keep them safe at night. One good thing about these two waterfowls is that they are hardier than chickens and are less prone to some common poultry dieases.
If you have aggressive dogs around your neighborhood, you will need to build a tall fence to keep them safe. You need to provide them with clean drinking water daily and healthful foods. Some of their diets include small insects, bugs, plants and slug, which they will happily eat if found in your yard.
You will benefit from their poop as well, as composted bird poops are great for plants. So, if you have these birds in your yard or farm, this will be very beneficial to your plants as they will thrive.
Can ducks and geese be housed together?
Ducks and Geese are waterfowls in Anatidae family. Generally, these two water birds do get along very well. They are social animals and they do not do well living alone. So, if you have already adopted a duck, feel free to bring a goose, they can be housed together without issues.
Can Ducks and Geese Fly?
They are migratory birds, and each bird flies slightly above the ground. Some species of Ducks wings are short, strong and pointed. Yes, some ducks do fly like the mallard species. However, many domesticated ducks do not fly. I once raised a duck that can fly.
Geese can fly for long distances and stop to take a rest, and they are known to fly in V formation. Geese are better flyer than ducks.
Conclusion: Geese Vs Ducks.
Geese are not ducks, but they have similar biological feature. Domesticated ducks and geese tend to be larger and live longer than their wild counterparts, mainly due to proper care and diet.
We hope you can differentiate between geese and ducks if you come across them. If you enjoy our article, why not share it with your friends!!!
Read Also: 250+ Name Ideaa For Naming Your Pet Goose
Read Also: 381 Good & Funny Duck Names