Goose vs Duck: What Are The Differences and Similarities

Distinguishing geese and ducks: Geese have 17-24 neck bones Ducks have 16 or fewer.  Explore their size, diet, behavior, and more in our comprehensive guide.

Geese: Long necks, muted colors, powerful wings.  Ducks: colorful feathers, longer bills. Exception: Snow Goose with a short neck.

Body & Shape

Geese are larger with longer necks than ducks. Ducks weigh 3-6 lbs, 15-20 inches, while geese weigh twice, 30-50 inches. Size easily distinguishes them.


Ducks run 8.2 mph, fly 40-60 mph; geese fly 40-70 mph. Generally peaceful, but may get aggressive when threatened, especially geese protecting young.


Geese outlive ducks, geese live 15-20 years, ducks 10-15. Predators threaten both, impacting lifespan. Farm/pet birds may exceed wild ones.


Geese are aggressive, used as guards; ducks have mild temperaments. Geese migrate, territorial in breeding. Ducks are social, some migrate in winter.


Diet varies by breed. Geese are herbivores, eating land and water plants. Ducks, omnivores, prefer crustaceans and fish but adapt based on habitat.


Geese prefer watery habitats globally, while ducks thrive in water-centric areas, forming small flocks, avoiding loneliness.


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